I would like to share a text message with a friend of mine yesterday. I hope it encourages you as much as it did me. First, let me give you some background. I have known Ronnie for almost six years now through work. We live over five hundred miles apart. Our worlds are very different. Some might wonder why we should even be friends. In fact, some have. Yet, for as many seeming differences we have, we have one thing in common that makes it seem as if we have no differences at all. That one thing is Jesus.
We don’t talk often. In fact, we’ve only spoken a few times. We met on person only once. Still, I consider him a friend and a brother. In fact, we are brothers – in Christ (Romans 8:29). So, here’s yesterday’s conversation:
Ronnie: After 24 years of ministry, I found I barely scratched the surface of what I should be doing.
Me: That sounds exciting! What does God have in mind for you?
Ronnie: Well, I went to a Gideon Seminar last night, and I learned so much that I was saddened because I felt I wasted so much time. These Christians were really applying themselves and living the gospel to the fullest. I applied what I learned, and I witnessed the difference – a young lady gave her life to Christ right in my tow truck. I felt so spiritually moved that my life will never be the same.
Me: Wow! I love it! I’m proud of you, Ronnie. God certainly rewards us when we walk with him, doesn’t he?
Ronnie: Yes, he does, Scott, but I’m ashamed that I haven’t applied myself more.
Me: Romans 8:1, buddy. There is no condemnation for those in Christ. Look forward and see the beauty in front of you. Plus, you can use your story to inspire other Christians who need it.
Ronnie: This is true. These men and women risked their lives to spread the gospel in other countries, some even died. I once was blind but now I see.
We chatted a bit more and signed off. It may be awhile before we talk again. But then it will be as if no time has passed. In the big picture, none will have, relatively speaking, because we are talking eternity.
I share this with you to encourage you a couple of ways. One, to be like Ronnie. He went someplace and heard the gospel and it changed his life. To be certain, he heard the gospel long ago and it forever changed his relationship with God. He also heard it again through the Gideons. The fact is, we need to hear the gospel often (daily or more?) because we keep forgetting it. “For to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18b) I also hope this story encourages you to stick your neck out – in a couple of ways. First, take some risks and share the gospel with people. Ronnie, almost certainly, helped someone with a problem because of his work. Through that, he almost certainly learned that this person was troubled. He took the time to listen and share the only true solution to all of life’s problems – Jesus Christ. Look what happened. Both had their eternity radically changed – one in salvation, the other in sanctification. I’m telling you, God rewards us in ways that we can’t imagine that our money could never, ever buy. If you have not experienced sharing the gospel, I urge you, no, I beg you, to do so. Yes, it’s scary, but the peace that you will experience from obeying God will wash over you and give you joy like never before. I’m not exaggerating. Don’t worry whether the person accepts Jesus or not. That’s not your concern. We are expected only to deliver the message of Jesus. God is the one who saves. Ours is to simply obey.
Finally, I hope this story encourages you like it has for me. My faith story started with my willingness with God to do whatever it takes, even if that meant telling other people about him. I started out my job sharing the gospel with those I knew weren’t saved. A few people accepted Jesus. Honestly, it has been some time since someone has. That’s OK because I know it’s not me that convinces; the Trinity does. But, I have matured in my faith so that I talk about Jesus to anyone I feel led to – making no judgment as to whether or not they already know Jesus. As things have turned out, I share the gospel with lots of believers. I have had people look at me, mouths hanging open, and say they can’t believe what I’m telling them. They are already believers but in desperate need of encouragement! What a privilege it is to deliver such news yet having had no clue myself as to the importance of the message I carried. Like I said, money cannot buy the joy that comes through this.
So, please, take some risks and share the gospel. I guarantee you that some people will distance themselves from you. I can also guarantee that others will draw very close. Those are the ones you want. People like Ronnie. Trust me on that.
Father, you are the shepherd, we are your sheep. Guide us to where you want us to go, to do what you desire. Let us put our trust in you, completely, and cast all our doubts and fears at your feet. Give us that living water so that we may never be thirsty. Let us share the good news of the one who knows all that we have ever done. Just like the woman at the well. Lord, let us have that kind of desire to tell the whole town about this man named Jesus. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers