While petting the stray cat I recently adopted, I was struck with the reality that I had saved her from an ongoing life of wandering. Her life up to that point consisted of roaming the neighborhood searching for food and shelter.
As this train of thought progressed, I suddenly realized that this type of compassion is too often lacking where it is needed most ... in the area of unsaved souls! How easy it is for us to care for a stray cat, rescue a dog, or show tenderness to many of the cute and cuddly newborns of the animal kingdom. We even debate the possibility that pets may live in Heaven. Yet, the fear that family members and friends may be lost for all eternity appears to be lacking! An urgency to reach the unsaved seems to be shamefully absent!
As pet owners, we shed many tears over the loss of our beloved pets; we mourn their death. As Christians, do we tearfully pray for lost souls? Do we mourn the death of those who have turned their backs on Jesus? Do we tremble at the horrors facing the unsaved? Or, being secure in our own salvation, do we merely experience an occasional twinge of conscience as we hesitantly and infrequently proclaim the mercy and grace of our mighty Lord and Savior? Do we experience trepidation, concerned that by mentioning sin, Jesus Christ, judgment and eternity, we will only serve to upset and alienate family and friends? Do we knowingly shy away from witnessing because we do not want confrontation?
Obviously, animals cannot verbally berate us. Is this why it is much easier to show compassion to animals? Is that why they reap our affection and caring? A pat on the head and a warm place to stay with no questions asked. Witnessing, however, requires us to speak out about our faith and trust in Jesus Christ; to boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ (eternal salvation - John 5:24) and to contrast this good news with the bad news of judgment and everlasting damnation (hell) (Psalms 9:17)! Yet, fearing possible opposition, ridicule or an altercation, we ignore the lost and tiptoe away in silence!
Regardless of the self-mollifying excuses we put forth in order to dismiss witnessing, anything that takes priority over witnessing for Jesus Christ is nothing more than a microscopic dot of nothingness when compared to the eternal damnation awaiting those who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior!
"The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night..." (Revelations 14:11). The salvation of others should be, must be, our foremost goal!
One day the world, as we know it, will be renovated. All the current woes and turmoil blanketing planet earth and the atmospheric heavens will disintegrate in God's flames of renewal (II Peter 3:7, 10-13). Humanity, however, will exist forever. Even though death will claim our mortal bodies, each of us will survive for all eternity (immortal bodies) ... either in Heaven (II Corinthians 5:6-8) or in hell (Lake of Fire). "And these (unbelievers) shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous (believers) into life eternal" (Matthew 25:46).
Still, many wink at eternity by adopting a dismissive or nonchalant attitude toward eternal life! Regrettably, many Christians fall into this category as we display a foolish (unwise) and uncaring outlook toward witnessing for Jesus. However, "...he who is wise wins souls" (Proverbs 11:30).
Individually we cannot reach every unbeliever, any more than we can rescue every helpless animal, but we must do our utmost to witness whenever doable! Just as we offer food and water to a stray, we must present the gospel - The Bread of Life (Jesus) (John 6:48) and the Living Water (John 4:10-14) - to the unsaved! By faithfully bearing witness to God's plan of eternal salvation, we are offering God's living manna. "I (Jesus) am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever..." (John 6:51).
By boldly witnessing and loudly declaring that "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13), we are obediently heeding God's command to "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel..." (Mark 16:15).
Christians, we must warn of the horrors of hell! We must witness for the Lord!
Nancy Hamilton is a member of Faith Bible Church in Williamstown and is an author of Christian books. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people.