Yesterday Matt stopped to help the car parked beside us in the Wal-mart parking lot jump their dead battery. It was cold and rainy, and Kenna not only needed a nap, but we had just come from her doctor’s appointment where she had gotten four shots. As I watched Matt help the guy, I sat and thought of the small handful of gospel tracts in my bag that I had told Matt I would give away weeks ago and hadn’t yet. As I thought to roll down the window and hand it to Matt to give the man, Kenna fussed and I instead turned around to soothe her, mentally rationalizing that as a mom, she was my first priority and ministry- a child who will grow up with access to the gospel not only in the words on the page of a Bible story, but hopefully lived out before her daily by her parents. Will she call me hypocrite when she becomes old enough to see me speak of the importance of one thing and not do it? The example I set before her is not a responsibility I take lightly.
And how many others have there been? The acquaintance who is heartbroken after an adulterous relationship ended when her lover went back to his wife. The mom at work who mourns the deep loss of a stillborn child. The co-workers when I was at Target in front of whom I cared more about what they thought of me than how Jesus could change their lives. And how many perfect opportunities that I let slip away, such as the lady on the plane next to me who told me she and her husband always fly separately so that if one of them were to die, their kids would still have one living parent to take care of them? It would have been so easy to have asked her where she thought she would go if she were to die, but I didn’t.
It is well with my soul. I have the eternal assurance of being rescued from my own sinfulness, of a future in heaven with the God who loves me unconditionally and knows and created the tiniest, most hidden parts of my heart. But is it well with the soul of the woman who will not smile back at me in passing in the store as I Christmas shop? Is it well with the person who has obviously not showered recently and is unpleasant to stand near? Is it well with the people who pass me every day? So many hurting people. We have the answer, but do we have the time?
What are we doing, Christians? Do we care about people? Do we care enough to speak to them personally, telling them what God has done for us, rather than just invite them to church so the pastor can “do his job?” Think about the words we will sing this Christmas:
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Until He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
… sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name!
Christ is the Lord!”
This Christmas season, and every day, take the chance to give others the most important gift we possibly could. Don't miss it. Tell someone. Not just "have a blessed day." Not just "I'm praying for you." Tell someone that we celebrate Christmas because Jesus the Savior came to live a perfect life and die that we could have salvation from the sinful nature that we all have that separates us from God. You don't have to have a seminary degree (I sure don't!) or be a super outgoing person or know how to have some theological debate. I want to care enough to speak up, enough to be a little uncomfortable talking to a stranger, enough to bring up a subject that is personal and oh so important.
"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..." -Romans 1:16"If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" -David Otis Fuller