I “met” Rob recently through some friends. In the last week we talked on the phone a couple of times and exchanged a few text messages. Rob had a history of addiction and described himself as an agnostic. I was planning to pick someone up for church this evening that was staying at his house and Rob actually invited himself to come to church with us. He talked a lot and he talked super fast so it was sometimes difficult to get a word in, but I was able to briefly share the gospel with Rob. Several times in the last week Rob let me know he was excited about coming to church and I sent him a text message this morning to let him know what time I would be there to pick them up. A little while later I got a phone call that Rob was dead…very possibly an overdose.
I never got to meet Rob in person, but his death has affected me.
We have recently experienced the deaths of several people in our church and although there was sadness, it was tempered with the joy of knowing they were with Jesus. There is nothing to lessen the sorrow of Rob’s death. There is no joy, there is no hope.
Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Ecclesiastes 7:2
Take it to heart, you who live. For there are many who are dead while they live….dead in sin and separated from God. The gospel is their only hope. It is the only remedy. But the gospel is not good news to the man who dies without it. So preach it often. Preach it boldly. Preach it that all may live.
A couple of months ago a Hospice chaplain who attends my church gave me the name and number of a lady who had been in Hospice care and had partially recovered. Rebecca required physical therapy and was not able to get around very well. She had no family in town and had always welcomed the chaplain’s visits. She was not hostile towards the gospel, but had not received Christ. I was hopeful that I would be able to meet her, show her the love of Christ, and share the gospel with her. We had several telephone conversations and I made several attempts to schedule a time to go visit her. Each time, the plans had to be abandoned. My life became a bit chaotic and I lost touch with Rebecca. I thought about her occasionally, wondering how she was doing. I’d make a mental note to get in touch with her and try again to go visit. But life does have a tendency to get busy, and I forgot.
At church Wednesday, this Hospice chaplain told me that Rebecca was in the hospital. He said she was dying. For some reason, it didn’t really sink in. All the people he deals with are dying, and most of them suffer from some type of terminal illness and they linger for some time. I made plans to go visit Rebecca in the hospital Friday after work.
I got a call Friday morning – Rebecca had died sometime during the night. There was no indication that she had turned to Christ before her death.
This was a sobering reminder that tomorrow doesn’t always come.
Yesterday morning at 4:35 AM there was a double murder .6 miles from my house. I was in my house reading my Bible at 4:35 AM while those 2 souls were crossing into eternity right down the street. There’s something quite unsettling about knowing this.
2 weeks ago, a 28 year old man jumped (or fell) from the top of the 10 story building that I work in.
All around us, everyone we see is potentially moments away from death. It is a very sobering thought. And it certainly underscores the importance of being faithful to share the gospel.
We must work the works of Him who has sent us while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4)