Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.(2 Corinthians 6:2b, NLT)
Last week, I received an email that Jimmy (not his real name) had died.
And it stopped me in my tracks.
See, Jimmy wasn’t that old. He had a wife and two children.
I never saw him smoke, I never saw him drunk, he seemed physically fit, and he was not afraid of a hard day’s work.
His obituary offered no explanation other than he died unexpectedly of natural causes.
Jimmy was kind and considerate, he wasn’t loud or brash, he had a good sense of humor, I never heard him curse even when others around him were doing so without restraint, and I never heard him put another person down. In fact, I remember times when he had an opportunity to say something bad about somebody else and he purposely stopped himself from doing so.
We all liked Jimmy. By all accounts, he was a good man.
But the part of Jimmy’s passing that stills eats at me is I don’t know if Jimmy knew Jesus.
Jimmy and I were not close friends. We were acquaintances. I only saw him during the summer when I was helping run the church concession stand at the ball diamond and he was playing softball. When he was done playing, he’d buy a hamburger. He liked fried onions on it. Jimmy was a “Keep the change” guy.
We had talked about God a little bit here and there, but I was trying not to be pushy. I could tell he wasn’t anti-God, but it didn’t seem like Jesus was a big part of his life. I really didn’t know, but I did not want to force Jesus down Jimmy’s throat—and I thought there was plenty of time.
Then, as I was listening to the new Casting Crowns album, the lyrics to “Love You with the Truth” hit me like a brick:
For the longest time, I believed the lie
That I’m not a strong enough believer
To be the friend that can take your hand
And lead you straight to Jesus.
I’m waiting on the preachers, singers, and the teachers
To string the perfect words together
But every single time I have to say goodbye
I wonder will this be the last time.
I can’t call myself your friend and walk away.
When we love, we earn the right to speak the truth.
When we speak truth, we show the world we truly love.
I’m not pointing my finger, I’m holding out my hand.
I lay it all on the line now to see God save my friend.
Let my life and my words be the proof
I’m gonna love you with the truth.
Gonna love you with the truth.
Yes, God is love, but God is just
And we are separated in our darkness.
So God let Him who knew no sin
To become sin to make us right with Him.
It’s not about religion or earning God’s forgiveness
Or magic prayers or new behavior.
It’s all about your heart, He’ll meet you where you are
Turn from your sin and trust in Christ as Lord.
Jesus is the truth, the life, the way.
How I’ve prayed for this moment, that you would finally see
That God is more than religion, a stained-glass fantasy.
And how I’ve prayed for the courage, for my silent faith to speak
Or that God would just send you a better friend than me.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)