March 3, 2014
By Will Graham
Eternity. That’s something that tends to be on my mind a lot. My guess is that it may very well be regularly on your mind as well.
Eternity stands before each of us; before me and before you. Some sooner than later, but the fact of the matter is that each of us will one day enter eternity.
Everywhere I go to preach, eternity is at the top of my mind. I was just in Sri Lanka, and soon I’ll be in Japan and in Mississippi preaching, and eternity is always in focus. As I explain the love of the Savior and the decision that must be made for Him or against Him, I see in the eyes of my audience the gravity of eternity.
Some grasp onto the offer that is being presented and they come rushing forward to claim that hope for eternity. Others, unfortunately, don’t. They may be too cynical, too distracted, or too set in their ways to respond to the Holy Spirit’s calling.
Occasionally it may be our fault that someone misses the opportunity to accept Christ, because we miss the opportunity to share Him. Whether someone accepts or rejects Jesus and His eternal promise, it can’t compromise our calling to proclaim the love and hope of Christ.
As I was recently contemplating eternity and the importance of proclaiming the Gospel, I was reminded of something that took place a couple years ago while we were holding an evangelistic Celebration in Texas. On the second of the three days of the event, Todd – a friend and ministry associate of mine –saw a man by the side of the road asking for spare change. God moved in Todd’s heart, and he pulled his car over and waved to the man.
Todd offered to buy him dinner and invited him to the Celebration. After hearing what the man had to say about “those Christians,” he eventually agreed to come along. The man went off to find his brothers, and the three of them returned and climbed into Todd’s car.
I had no idea that any of this was taking place while I was backstage preparing to preach on youth night. That evening, when I offered the invitation for the young people in the audience to make a commitment to Jesus, I quickly noticed the full head of gray hair and the deeply creased and weary face making its way down to the front.
One of the three men that Todd had picked up – nicknamed “Freebird” after the Lynyrd Skynyrd song – heard the Gospel and prayed to accept Christ as his Savior.
Afterwards he told Todd, “They call me ‘Freebird,’ but I’ve never felt free in my life until tonight.” He couldn’t believe that people loved him and hugged him even though he was wearing dirty clothes and hadn’t showered.
The next morning, as our team met for devotions in the local Holiday Inn, we rejoiced at the work that God had done in Freebird’s life. We were grateful that Todd responded when he felt God nudging him to pull the car to the side of the road. We marveled at the significance of eternity, and that – even though his brothers stayed back – Freebird recognized his need for a Savior and boldly walked forward.
As we closed our time together, we received word that Freebird was on his way to the hotel. He had decided that – having made a commitment to follow Christ – he wanted to be baptized as well! That morning, I had the amazing blessing of helping to baptize Freebird in the Holiday Inn swimming pool.
I firmly believe that Freebird understood the decision he was making and its significance. How do I know? While we were waiting to get into the pool he was shaking badly. I asked him about it, and he said that he had never had his head under water. Though it scared him to death, his commitment to Christ was real and he was bound and determined that he would be baptized.
My friends, people need the Lord! Eternity awaits all of us, and awaits each of those you pass on the street, at work, or in the store. How often do we watch our co-workers, family, friends, and neighbors – even the man asking for extra change on the street corner – struggle through life without sharing with them that they can have true hope for eternity?
Don’t miss those opportunities – Eternity is at stake!
This Easter, we have one such opportunity. We are encouraging individuals and churches to begin praying for those who need hope and to look for opportunities to use the video program “The Cross” as a way to share the message of God’s love with those who are far from Him. Order a copy of the DVD here.