A 30 Second Window

 He was my neighbor when my wife and I lived in the apartment buildings down from our church building and because of this we have developed a friendship.  It is an outstanding date that every Wednesday at 3:00pm we meet at Tim Horton’s for coffee and a donut.  Sometimes over coffee we are able to talk about church and Jesus, but most of the time we are talking about family, politics, and most recently sickness and death.  Today I was forcefully told that I would preach his funeral. 

Of course you can imagine that our conversation turned into a serious conversation and so I asked him what was up.  He said his health is deteriorating at a rapid decline and that since he is 65 he mentioned that no one in his family has lived past the age of 70.  Did I mention that he doesn’t look like a 65 year old, but rather an 85 year old?

We talked about death and I asked him if he was ready to meet the maker?  With a few minutes of awkward silence he responded and said, “The only thing I hope for is to be at peace with myself and that I am able to believe God is able to forgive a sinner like me.  How can I be at peace with myself?”

At this time I have a thirty second window of opportunity to proclaim the risen Jesus.  What should I say?  Should I quickly tell him about the theological terms of justification and redemption?  Should I tell him “the steps to salvation?”  What would you say in this thirty second window of opportunity?  Would you know what to say?

Within this thirty second window very few words were spoken but what I did say, (looking back on the conversation) I pray captured what needed to be said.  I told him that because of Jesus we can have this peace of knowing God will forgive sinners.  Disciples of Jesus have no worry of death because we have the assurance that God will forgive our sins through the cross.  I then recounted the story of Paul, when he was known as Saul, and how even God can forgive one who murdered and imprisoned innocent people.  Paul writes,

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand . . . (Romans 5:1-2)

 

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).

 

But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life (Romans 5:8-10).

 My prayer is that when the Spirit of God moves in our midst and gives us the 30 second window of opportunity to proclaim the risen Christ we will have something to say; that we will be able to announce God’s word and the good news of the cross.

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Published in: on July 28, 2007 at 2:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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