How Much Do You Love Them?

My morning has been spent in the kitchen. There’s bread rising on the counter, a pot of chili on the stove, and a bowl of apples sprinkled with sugar & cinnamon tucked away to use in a pie later. The chili is to freeze. Supper will more than likely be baked ham. I try to keep ‘fast food’ in the freezer for the days when I’m not able to cook; and coming into winter, there will be more and more of those days ahead. But that’s OK, at least I’ll be prepared.

There is a lot of activity around the cabin these days. The local power company has contracted a tree service to clear trees and branches around the power lines. It’s a common practice around here in the winter. When the snow starts to come down by the foot instead of by the flake, the trees get overloaded and power outages are extremely common in the winter. For folks that don’t have generators … it’s a really awful feeling to have the power shut off and it’s 20 below outside. Not knowing how long a power outage will last will even cause a little unrest in folks who do have backup. We’ve been wanting to go off-grid for years. It’s just not feasible here at the cabin. Living in a meadow surrounded by mountain tops leaves us with very little sun and hardly any wind to speak of. Anyway, I was outside watching them work earlier. Let me tell you, that’s some scary job they have! I caught myself holding my breath more than once. Before I realized it, I was praying over these men.

Last night Honey came home and was telling me about a wreck that happened at one of the job sites he was on yesterday. The trucks were hauling asphalt for a paving job locally. One of the dump trucks was down at the work site and the others were parked up the hill waiting their turn to unload. From what I understand, a couple of local boys in a little green car came flying through the work site and hit the back tire of the dump truck. The impact was hard enough to bounce the car quite a ways, and in the process part of the car went under the tail end of the truck, peeling the top of the passenger roof off like opening a can of sardines. Fortunately the passenger just happened to be bending down messing with his cell phone when it occurred. The driver in the dump truck hardly felt the truck shake. He and the rest of the crew working there were safe. The compact car did little more than scuff the truck tire. Honey and the other drivers were far enough away that they didn’t even know there had been an accident until someone from the work crew came up to get a fellow driver who also happens to be an EMT. I don’t think the boys were seriously hurt, other than an airbag headache.

While my hands were deep in bread dough, my thoughts began to wander. There are so many dangerous jobs out there. And for those of us who aren’t in harms way, we just don’t know what’s around the next bend. Is there someone in your life that you care about, but aren’t sure if they have accepted the Lord? Have you asked them? My first thought is that people usually have real strong thoughts and opinions about ‘religion’. Would me asking them such a personal question endanger our friendship? My next thought is – if they were to die today, could I live with myself if I don’t ask them? And finally - if I were to die today, would my last conversation with them point them to Jesus?

I find that it’s easier to talk to Jesus about them than it is to talk to them about Jesus. When this realization strikes me, I like to justify it by telling myself that I’m being a ‘prayer warrior’! (That sounds almost self-righteous doesn’t it?) I find myself praying “God, send someone to tell them about you.” Do you pray for that ‘other’ saint too? Am I telling on myself, or what? I can strike such a pious pose if I would just keep my mouth shut and only utter the ‘proper christian words’ when I do speak. Maybe my lack of pretense is why God gives me this assignment.

I suspect my biggest problem is that I’m a coward. I don’t like rejection. What if they call me a ‘Bible Thumper’ or ‘Holy Roller’? Even worse, what if they tell others that I’m one of ‘those’ people? In my head, this sounds almost funny. My head says “So?” But it is a very real and natural fear. No one wants to feel rejected, especially by someone we care about. It’s so much easier to share Jesus with strangers. But that thinking puts “I” at the center. How much do you love THEM?

(long pause in writing)

While I was writing these very words, God convicted me in a big way. Here I was talking about sticking your neck out and sharing Jesus with others, when there were people in my own life that I needed to talk to about Jesus, but I always managed to chickened out whenever I would get on the phone with them. Often I would slip in little key words like ‘prayer’ and ‘God’, and when they changed the subject I would just let it drop. Even though I don’t talk to them very often, they have always been so special to me. For the past few days, God has put them on my heart. So while the bread was in the oven, I called them. The thought of them slipping into eternity before I had a chance to ask them about Jesus was more than my conscience could bear. The conversation was brief and the phone passed from her to him before I could build up my courage. He & I visited for a few minutes and I asked him if he knew Jesus and if Jesus was his Savior. I’m sure that there are more subtle or eloquent ways of doing this, but as most would agree – I just don’t know how to beat around the bush, and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass this time.

I don’t know what I expected. There weren’t any angry words. There weren’t any shouts of Alleluia either. Just a pause and “Yes, I believe so.” His voice remained as soft as it has ever been, but I sensed a coolness after that. In just a few minutes, his dinner was ready. Knowing them the way I do, after more than 40 years, the topic will come up over dinner. Will this affect our relationship? Probably. But that’s OK. The little demons are trying to convince me that I made a mistake. But, you know, I did what I felt God was telling me to do. I do know that since our conversation, the urging from God has stopped. This has been a burden I’ve carried for years, and it’s gone now. My delivery may not have been the best, but God’s is. God will use that seed. How? I may never know.

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33

Pray for courage and guidance, and follow the Lord’s lead. His Word never returns void. And if you don’t know Jesus as your Savior and Lord – please seek Him. It’s really simple. Just ask Him to make Himself real to you, and see what happens.

Have a great rest of the day, and may the Lord bless you.

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