There will be times in your life when you will think about your friends and loved ones who have passed on. Some, well, many may have died without knowing the Lord. I am in that space today. About 15 years ago, my best friend, who was a Mormon, died. We talked a lot about Jesus and he was really interested in learning the differences between our faiths. I shared the gospel with him often but as his brain tumor started slowly killing him, his family found out that we were talking about Jesus and they forbade him from speaking to me. I only heard that he had died after the face from his brother, who knew how close we were. I can only hope that he took what I said to heart and that my watering, and his interest, led to a true conversion. Only God can know that.
My grandmother died around the same time. I shared the gospel with her only to have her dismiss what I said as “just words”. She died a few months after that. I hope that I will see here in glory, but I doubt it.
The only other person I would probably call my best friend died last year. Not from covid… from bullets. He was shot to death in a biker
gang club battle. This was the life he had chosen and we just accepted it. I had shared the gospel with him years ago but he told me he didn’t want to hear about it anymore. We both started off on the same course, and only God’s grace had saved me from likely the same fate. Just before he died, he shared a song with me that he thought really spoke to him from Tom MacDonald. It was the saddest thing I ever heard – the whole song was just lamenting that their lives were too bad – too evil to save. And at least when they die they can go to hell and with with their friends. I told him that it was the worst possible thing to think because hell was created as a punishment in eternity – literally without end – for Satan and the angels who revolted with him. It is a place of eternal torment – of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I can only hope that he took that to heart because a week later he was dead and his wife was now a widow. I look at other people in my circle of influence that I have known and hope that my watering in their life led to their conversion so that I can join with them in praising the King who IS in eternity.
I don’t understand how people can seriously take what we know about God in scripture seriously and refuse to speak to their loved ones, neighbors, coworkers and friends. We literally only have a moment before us – just a dash between two dates, and we don’t know when any of it will end. What will your legacy be? What will your final message be to your loved ones? Will they speak of your love of football? How much work you completed during the day? How great the meetings you ran were? Maybe they will discuss your love for your family? But will they speak of your love for the Lord? How you sought, with tears, the people that you knew? Will your impact be felt most deeply by those who knew that you, day after day, served God with a single-minded focus and sought to care for everyone you knew so much, that you never let a little thing like your own pride get in the way of serving the people you knew?
186,000 people die every day. Every. Single. Day. Some day it will be your name in an obituary somewhere, remembered by your friends for a while, and later on forgotten. Your children will remember you, but your grandchildren likely won’t, and neither will your great grandkids. Let your legacy be found in Christ and him alone. Serve him with a whole heart, and a whole mind – serving the king of all creation in this life, and for ages upon ages in glory to come.
I don’t know what happened to my friends or family who have died. I pray that they were saved, but I also pray that my influence will be shown in my character and nature that are so severely embedded with the essence of Christ that, when I die, they see not me, but Christ who is my example.
“Preach the gospel. Die. Be Forgotten.”~ Nikolas Ludwig, Count von Zinzendorf