“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5
I had an extremely talented friend in high school He had a fantastic voice and could play the piano by ear. Leonard Bernstein hand-picked him to sing the altar boy solo for his production of Mass that opened the Kennedy Center.
One summer before going back to boarding school, he teamed up with a young woman. Jenny, and they played in the lounge of a local restaurant. She played guitar, he, the piano, and their voices blended well. I don’t know how many nights I hung out there, visiting during their breaks, and just enjoying the music. She even had us both over to her house to have dinner with her and her husband.
Then we all went our ways. She ended up leaving town. Many years later, she came back for a visit, and I just happened to run into her. After catching up, she gave me a wry smile and asked if I was a Christian. I told her that I am.
“I knew it!” she said. “I always knew there was something different about you.” But before I could get too proud of myself, she added, “Why didn’t you ever say anything?”
Some people’s purpose in life is to serve as a warning for others! You’re welcome.
It isn’t enough to just act the right way. You need to talk the right way too. That means including your relationship with God in the conversation; “I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message…” Paul urges Timothy and us. Run the conversation and have your say.
How often have I not said anything, because I was waiting for the right moment to introduce God and Jesus into the discussion? Then things move on or break up, and I haven’t said a word about Jesus. I just couldn’t find a way to fit Him in. Paul has this to say: “be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage…”
Graduate school was the time in my life when I feel I was the strongest in my faith and acted on it. There was Peter Brandon, who mocked me when I tried to talk to him about God. It was a friendly pulling of my leg about it, but he wasn’t buying. He died the next day. See “Damned” at https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/damned/ Especially look at the comments. Schooled me a bit.
I worked in a kitchen that first summer out of graduate school. As the owner drove me from his one restaurant to the other, we had a conversation going. I misunderstood something he said, and went off on a tangent about God, and faith, and such. Just as we pulled into the parking lot, I looked over and saw this odd smile on his face.
I suddenly realized I had misunderstood him and pretty well made a fool of myself. But I didn’t care. I just assumed God caused me to mistake what he was saying so he could hear my witness. God does stuff like that.
Pride isn’t the point. Embarrassment doesn’t earn extra points or a sticker on your homework. All that matters is talking about God right now. All that matters is that you and I have friends – even relatives – who are on the highway of the damned. What do you suppose is going to be the last thought in their minds as they tumble over the edge of the Pit? They’ll see you face in their mind’s eye and cry out –
“Why didn’t you ever say anything?!?”