1997-12-31 - Limited Time Only
Before going to work Monday morning, I heard the weatherperson call for snow here. Well, I have to tell you, snow and this small town in NC do not mix! One inch of snow will close the town. However the most fascinating event around here is the mad dash to the grocery stores. I went after work Monday to get a loaf of bread, and low and behold, it was all gone -- and even the hamburger buns were gone! It's not like snow stays long around here; today the snow was all melted.
As I read the Sunday paper last night (yes I am behind), all the "After-Christmas Sale" advertisements were screaming out "Limited Time Only!" "Last Chance Before Year End!" "Buy Now!" and my personal favorite "No Payments til 1998!" Gee, no payments for a whole week!
What do the snow, the mad dash for bread, and the "last-chance" advertisements have in common? Glad you asked. All these events create or at least try to create a huge since of urgency. If we don't do this or that right now we will never have another chance. Go now! Buy now! On Sale now! Limited time only! Urgent, urgent, urgent!
Folks, the gospel message of Jesus Christ is urgent. The offer for the gift of eternal life in heaven is a limited time only offer. The scary thing about this "sale" is that none of us know when the limited time is up. As long as we, our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and the like are here on earth, the offer is valid. The offer to spend eternity in Heaven with Christ is limited to here and now. There is no second chance. The Gospel is urgent; the eternal destiny of those around us hangs in the balance. What are you doing to create a sense urgency in your world around you, an urgency to at least cause people to investigate this thing call Christianity? I cannot find anywhere in the Bible a single verse that says, "Those of you who are gifted with preaching spread the message of Jesus Christ." All I see is this verse:
Acts 1:8 (NASB) but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Seems very clear to me that we are ALL called to spread the Gospel, the urgent Good News of Jesus Christ. We are all called in unique ways; God has wired each of us up differently. Some of us are gifted with talking about our faith to anyone at anytime, some are gifted at just simply inviting people to hear the message on Sunday morning, and on and on. Are you using your unique gift to show Christ to others? It's a limited time only offer, folks. No returns, no trade-ins. All sales are final.
Luke 16:24-25 (NASB) “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.’
Hell is a real place where real people go. You may be the one person on this earth that can communicate to or influence in some manner that person or persons in your arena that needs Christ. Their eternity is hanging in the balance; it's either a wonderful eternity with Christ or a forever-separated eternity away from Christ.
Well, this is tough stuff. If the title of this devotional was "Evangelism", I suspect a lot of you would have skipped over this one. Evangelism is not being loud, obnoxious people, shoving Jesus down the throat of everyone and anyone that comes in contact with us . Evangelism is building relationships with non-believers and showing them Christ through our words and actions. God doesn't call us to be the "District Attorney;" He simply calls us to be a witness telling our unique story.
I highly recommend a book to help you with telling your story. It will show you your "unique style" and how to be a witness for Jesus Christ. The book is Becoming a Contagious Christian, by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittleburg. Better yet, form a small group and study this book together. Learn from each other, pray for one another, encourage and help each other be better "Lights" for Christ in this very dark world. Pray for God to use you in the coming year to influence someone to come to faith in Jesus and accept Him as their personal Savior. It's a limited-time offer.
Dear Father, increase in us a hunger, desire and a huge sense of urgency for telling others the Good News about Jesus Christ. Increase our sensitivity to opportunities and open doors that come our way to simply tell others what you have done for us. Increase in us our love for Your Word. Increase in us our appreciation and gratitude for what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross. Guide us and direct us with our words for You Father, as your Word tells us you will. In Jesus' name, Amen.