Last year, God put it on my heart to get together with a high school friend, to hang out, and hopefully share my faith. But after trading Facebook messages about when and where we’d meet, I was too “busy” and full of excuses to follow through. She passed away suddenly after that, becoming the third close high school friend who had passed away in her 30s. Friends have assured me not to feel guilty, or think too much about it. After all, we’re not solely responsible for the salvation of another person, right? Maybe. But could I have possibly made an eternal difference in a friend’s life if I had put God’s voice before my own? I’d love for the answer to be different, but it has to be yes.
So I’m left wondering—since God has really saved me from slavery to sin, and myself, and given me eternal life—how could there still be friends I haven’t shared my faith with? If I really believe the only way to heaven is through Christ, shouldn’t there at least be a stronger burden to help others see the truth I was also blind to, for so long? The easy excuse would be that spirituality is simply a “personal thing,” and it’s not our job to save souls, it’s God’s. I wonder if we’d feel the same if it were our own children or family members living without the knowledge of Christ? It’s easy to assume a church on every corner guarantees everyone access to the Gospel, but that sure wasn’t enough for me. I was a pastor’s daughter and I still couldn’t see the truth until later as an adult. It took people really investing in me, inviting me to a home Bible study, and spending time with me to finally soften my heart towards God and see him through the right lens.
Sure, I do my part and post the occasional scripture on Facebook, and I’ve invited friends to church along the way. I even run a prison ministry. But somewhere between the time I got saved at 23 and now, I’ve lost the urgency to reach anyone in my path who doesn’t know him. I used to evangelize with boldness, looking for any open door to talk about God. At the height of my fervor, I unknowingly committed a federal offense by shoving letters about how I got saved into neighbors’ mailboxes at 1 a.m. because I couldn’t afford 200 stamps. I just had to tell people how I had it all wrong about God, how religion has poisoned our minds against the truth of his goodness, and how God had somehow transformed my cold, nasty heart into a peaceful, people-loving one.
But then life takes over. Higher level jobs consume our time. Marriage and kids demand our attention. And we rest upon the popularly-held belief that if we live a moral life, and say ‘God bless’ to those we pass in our hurried wake, we’ll lead people to Christ. It’s a more convenient and less convicting stance for sure, but I’m not sure if it’s one I can perpetuate after yet another funeral of someone who knew me before the Lord, and not since.
I don’t pretend to know anyone’s eternal fate, or what happens between a person and God in those final moments. But one of my greatest wishes, from here on out, would be to make sure those who know me now—co-workers, friends, neighbors, know how much God has done for me.
I’m not advocating we hold an alter call with every visit to the drive-through or pack a tree-load of salvation tracks with every outing, but if God puts someone on your heart, even if it’s just for prayer, listen and let him give you the strength and desire to follow through. Not everyone we know is guaranteed a tomorrow. Today, is the day to share our faith.