As a new Christian I picked up the notion somewhere that I was supposed to be on the hunt for people to save. Those close to me at the time noted the change in my life but were not interested in it for themselves. Why couldn’t I pull a “woman at the well” scenario in my own life?
Several years down the road my close friend Matt died at 25 to Muscular Dystrophy. A common topic of discussion for us was the gospel and why he was opposed to it. He questioned why he was disabled to the point where he had to rely on his family members for the most basic of functions, why he would never know what it was to be married or have children. Never did it seem that he would come to know the Lord before he would leave this earth. The last year of his life he returned my phone calls less, went on hospice, and graduated college. When my phone rang with his name on caller ID, I was not surprised when I heard his sister’s voice telling me Matt was gone.
Toward the end of his funeral, one of his hospice workers sang a song that she said Matt requested for her to play at his funeral. It was one that he enjoyed in the last weeks of his life. She sang Amazing Grace. What? Matt did not listen to hymns, his musical tastes were a bit more, shall we say, rough. I thought it was a well-intended lie to help us feel like Matt was in a better place.
The funeral party continued on to the burial. Birds and balloons were released and one of Matt’s hospice workers approached me. She said Matt specifically wanted me to know that he had chosen Amazing Grace for his funeral. I asked her if that meant what I thought it meant and she said it did. She told me the wonderful story of how Matt came to know the Lord in the last weeks of his life.
For some of us, accepting Christ as a child was our prerogative, others had to live through their wild years before coming to know Him, and yet others like Matt would wait until they knew for sure no other options were available. While the hospice ladies who entered Matt’s life those last few months had the honor of bringing him to the Lord, I know that my efforts were not in vain. God was gracious in letting me see in Matt’s short life what can take others a normal lifespan.
What naiveté and selfish ambition to think that I, and I alone, was entitled to leading those in my life to the Lord! Far more people are blessed when it takes multiple people influencing, conversing with, and praying for a person to come to Christ. My words and delivery were of no consequence since the only one who could do the transformative work necessary was the Holy Spirit. Yes, as Christians we have the great commission to enter the world and make disciples of all nations, but if we choose to forfeit the eternal rewards and temporal joy of sharing the gospel, our Lord can make the rocks cry out (Luke 19:40)! So do not be discouraged when sharing the gospel appears fruitless. Only God knows the heart of the one you speak to and what circumstances He has in store for them.
“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21).”