Most recently, I learned that a good client passed away suddenly. He appeared to be healthy and in better shape than I am in. And yet he died suddenly. Many people will ask why did God allow him to die as opposed to someone who has chronic health problems? The answer to that is unknown until we get to heaven ourselves. But this is not the question at stake. The question at stake is “Why didn’t I ask the question?”
Many are probably wondering right now, what is the question that I am talking about? I will get to that in a few sentences. Before I do that, let me just say that we take for granted that we have time. Time is on our side and that we can do whatever we want. As a non-Christian who may be thinking, “I want to enjoy life and not make a God commitment until I sow my oats!” Or the family member whom you have spoken with and he laughs in your face and tells you, “I have time!” Time? Do we really have time? Is time really on our side? My friend, although in great shape, had a brain aneurism and died. He was one year younger than me and yet he died.
When I found out about my friend, as I was speaking with his wife, I could barely talk for fear that I would start weeping as I was so sorrowful of her loss. Not only was I sorrowful, but I had never asked the question. There were five questions that I should have asked, but never asked. Was it because I feared rejection? Was it because I did not want to offend anyone? Was it because that I did not know how to communicate my question to him? Was it because we did not have time to discuss such a subject matter? Was it because I disobeyed God by not asking these simple questions? Was it because…..? And the list of why’s go on!
I could have asked five simple questions in conversational form. But as a believer in Jesus Christ; as a person who “proclaims” that he loves God with all his heart, soul, and mind; as a person who believes what Christ said that we are to “love our neighbor as our self;” I did nothing! I say that I love my neighbor, but my actions do not prove that to be true because if I truly did love my neighbor, I would have asked those simple five questions. But I didn’t and now I have to live with what I did not do! I will have to answer to God when I die and go to stand in judgement. I can hear Him asking me this question, “Why didn’t you ask the question?” I will stand guilty of being silent and unloving. Guilty of not loving my neighbor as myself!
What is the question I should have asked? If I am to love my neighbor as myself, I should have cared more about his spiritual life as opposed to his business life. I should have loved him as my own brother as opposed to keeping silent about spiritual things. I should have asked him, “Do you have any kind of spiritual belief? To you, who is Jesus? Do you believe there is a heaven and a hell? If you died right now, where would you go? If heaven, why? If what you believe were not true, would you want to know it?” The last question is if they do not have a belief in Jesus Christ. Now here is the rub. Not asking these questions or questions like them will never allow you the opportunity to show your love as well as the love of Christ to your neighbor. Who is this neighbor I am speaking about? It is anyone you know and do not know. It could be a friend, relative, next door neighbor, customer, or an unknown person. The direct question I should have asked was, “Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal savior?” But those five forms of questions ease one into conversation about faith.
Fortunately for me as well as for him, he did know Jesus Christ as his personal savior. He was a believer and he was a Christian. How do I know this? Because his wife told me that they have joined a bible believing church and that they were involved and that they both believed. Praise God for my friend’s salvation and that he is with Jesus right now. But that does not excuse my silence! We are all called to share our faith and yet we sit on the sidelines and do nothing! We go to church, sing and praise God, read Scripture, listen to a powerful and motivating sermon, have the benediction, go out to eat after church, then go home to rest. Then we go to work on Monday through Friday, without ever opening our mouths to tell someone about Christ. I say we because I am part of that group. I failed miserably at what I so much talk about and yet I never asked him the question. Lucky for me that when he died, he was a believer in Jesus Christ! But that did not negate my responsibility to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Many will say, “Don’t be that hard on yourself!” I will tell you that if God is bringing this to my mind as a teaching tool, then whoever is reading this blog should also be aware that God will hold us all accountable for not obeying Jesus Christ’s commandment that we are to take the Gospel throughout the world, even if we never leave the comforts of our own town. We are to open our mouths and tell someone about the saving grace of Jesus and His salvation. Don’t use the excuse of not being comfortable about speaking to someone. Jesus Christ was not comfortable at all when they arrested him, beat him, flogged him to where his skin was so mangled and his blood flowed down. They tried him and placed a crown of thorns on his head. They mocked him as they made him carry a heavy cross to the place where they then crucified him. Before he was crucified, he had to willfully crawl onto that rugged cross. His hands and feet were nailed to that wooden rugged cross. They used nails like railroad spikes. It was a gruesome and cruel way to die. And yet our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ did that for us, so that our sins would be forgiven. He died a most horrible death and yet we cannot even experience a little of uncomfortable talk to a friend or a client! Fortunately for us, Jesus died for our sins and transgressions. He was in the tomb for 3 days. On that third day, he arose and lives forever with God the Father.
My point is that I should have said something. I should have at least asked my friend if he had ever made a personal commitment to Christ? I never recall that I even asked him anything about his spiritual life. And I grieve that I never did. To love my neighbor as myself should mean that I also tell them about the greatest gift that has ever affected me and my life. My love for God and my love for Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation.
Look at the following Scripture:
Matthew 22:36-40 English Standard Version (ESV)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
From now on, I will try to follow Jesus Christ’s commandments better and will love my neighbor by asking a simple five questions that can lead into a wonderful conversation about God’s saving grace. What about you? Do you want to see a friend or loved one die and you never asked them about their spiritual belief? Consider not making the same mistakes that I have made by not being obedient to God. Our faith calls all of us to action in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we say that we love someone, then if we really do, ask those simple questions.