Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Care to Share?

The other day James was riding around in a campus golf cart and issuing parking tickets. His co-worker is an international exchange student from China. He asked James to explain the humor in a joke he had heard. The punchline included "hell", and since he was unfamiliar with the terminology, he didn't really get the joke.

James explained that hell is a real place where an eternal fire constantly burns, but never consumes. After spelling out the joke's ill attempt at humor, he went on to explain that the Bible teaches that only those who call on the Name of Jesus as Lord, will be saved from eternal torment in hell.

The young man was troubled by the news. He asked James for clarification. "So if I don't believe in Jesus, I'm going to hell when I die?" James gently confirmed this new found truth. "God loves you and wants to save you. He knows you have sinned -like everyone else- and He has made a way for you to escape His judgement. But you have to agree with Him that you have sinned and that you need Jesus' death to count for yours."

Then, in a surprising turn of broadened conviction, he asked, "Do ALL the 'believers' here on campus know this and believe this about me?"

James nodded that he assumed they did.

"They believe I am going to die and go to hell, but no one has ever told me how to be saved from it??"

Pensive pause.

"They must not really care too much about me, then, if they're ok with the way things are going to turn out for me..."

Have mercy on us, O God. Thank You, God, for James and the demonstrative love he shows toward others. Forgive my frequent lack of compassion. Have mercy on me when I'm too caught up in the things of this world to care. Too "busy" to see how You are at work, calling people into Your light. Thank You for saving me. I want Your Goodness and Holiness to be at the front of my thoughts and on the tip of tongue at all times. I don't want to be afraid to tell people about Your truth. The truth about hell. The Truth about Jesus. Thank you for not giving us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.