Driving down the highway one afternoon, I looked out my window and noticed a giant billboard proclaiming a rather bold statement: It’s your choice, heaven or hell. There was this bright, beautiful ray of sunlight behind the word heaven and red-hot fire behind the word hell.
I understand the impact that using scare tactics can have in advertising but, as I began praying and thinking about our wonderful Savior and all of his characteristics, I just can’t fathom Jesus trying to scare us into believing in him. Jesus is not in the business of manipulation. But here’s the catch: the idea of hell should scare us. An eternity apart from God should terrify those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior.
I once heard a wonderful sermon where the pastor made an analogy between a burning house and the importance of sharing our faith. He said:
“Imagine that you come across a house that’s on fire. The firemen haven’t arrived yet, and you can hear the screams of the people inside. If you saw the opportunity to run in and save those people, would you do it? Of course you would! What if you were coming home from work one day only to arrive to your house set ablaze with your family still inside? You wouldn’t hesitate to run into the flames to save the people you love! I tell you, it’s the same with sharing your faith. When you see your loved ones walking without the Lord, you’re watching them walk in a way that will lead them to the flames of eternal separation from God. Are you going to let them burn for eternity or will you run in despite the heat, despite the fear, despite the discomfort, even despite your instincts to run in the opposite direction, so that they may bask in everlasting life with their Father?”
As Christians, if we truly believe that there’s a possibility for everlasting life in the presence of God, how much do we have to hate someone to let some momentary awkwardness keep us from sharing that with them? God could have snatched us all up the moment we became believers, but he didn’t. Why? Because he’s not done with us here. As Christians, our mission is to spread the gospel, because one day eternity will be set. If we are to be consumed with Christ’s love, then naturally he should become a part of our everyday conversation. How often do we talk about our children? Our spouse? Our best friend? It comes naturally, because we naturally love to talk about the people and things we love. As it should be even more so with Christ, who died for us.
I am reminded of the story of the watchman in Ezekiel 33. The watchman was tasked with the responsibly of warning the people of an impending attack because he would have been the first to see it coming. When he blew his trumpet, the people would know to flee and take cover or prepare for defense. If he did not blow with trumpet and warn the people, many would’ve died, because they were not prepared for defense. Therefore, the lives of many fell upon the responsibility of this one man.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
— Ezekiel 33:6
I don’t want to be like the watchman described in Ezekiel 33, who didn’t warn the people when they were about to be under attack. We have a responsibility on this side of heaven. We are divinely tasked with spreading the good news of Christ. Let our love for him be our motivation to talk about him. When he returns, let us have lived fully for him, that we may have no regrets when finally go home.