Have you ever delivered the message of salvation to someone and the very next day the person ends up murdered? Murdered, not died of natural cause or from an accident or disease.
What I am about to describe is a true story. I was thirteen or so and attending a Pentecostal church with my family. We lived in Hell’s Kitchen at the time, in NYC. My best friend lived in the building right next to ours, and her father and mother owned a factory not too far from there.
One day I was standing outside our building and her father was on his way home. He stopped to chat briefly and I invited him to our church services that coming weekend. It was Thursday. The man reacted to my invitation a bit vociferously, telling me he didn’t need to go to church, etc., etc. I snapped back with the gospel telling him he might not have another chance to make a decision to go, as I kept urging him to find God. He didn’t need to find God, he said.
This was my first one-to-one encounter in preaching the gospel. I had done so from the pulpit, on the streets of NYC, in evangelistic rallies, in other churches across the five boroughs, and even overseas. But never one-on-one. Not having done so previously, I was still very insistent.
The next day, during the evening, we heard loud shouts and screams floating up from the basement of the apartment building. Now considering where we lived, this was nothing new. So we didn’t meddle, figuring it was gang-related.
My friend came by the next morning, Saturday, telling us her father had not come home the previous night and that they were all worried, for he carried the bankroll on him. Then I told her what we had heard the previous night.
The police came and after asking me some questions, went down to the basement. Her father had been murdered…not too far from where we had stood that Thursday when I had asked him to give his heart to the Lord.
I buried that memory, hardly ever resurfacing again throughout the years, but this morning it popped out of nowhere. I can remember the fire that burned within me as I tried to tell the man to accept Christ. The memory is too vivid, as if I was there all over again. And I relive the fire.
When we feel that fire in our hearts to speak to someone or put our words in writing, there is a recipient waiting at the other end whose ears or eyes need to hear the message.
We may find ourselves at that moment questioning ourselves, but we shouldn’t. Thank God that at that age, I was young enough not to know any different. Now after living for the Lord for so many years, I can look back and pray that as this man was being murdered, he had the conscience to cry out to God to save his soul.
The other day I wrote a piece on relationships; the roles sometimes assigned by default by the husband to the wife. As I wrote, I found it strange, for I knew it was not something I was going to post. As I was nudged to keep writing, I knew enough to know it was meant for someone to hear this, I just didn’t know who.
Right after I finished typing it, I received a long-distance call from a very close friend who is taking baby steps in her new walk with the Lord. As she spoke, it became evident to me that she was the person I had to deliver the message to. As I read it to her, things clicked into place for her and the situation facing her.
The message we are responsible for delivering through our lips or our pen, cannot be diluted or ignored, or put off ‘til later, unless it is meant to (for reasons not obvious at the moment).
Many might think that a title or degree is needed to bring this message across. It might, or it might not—it all depends on the audience of your mission field. The results might be evidenced immediately or they might not. But if there is fire in your heart behind the message, then there is fire in the results of the message—one you may or may not get to see.
And, as His messengers, it is not for us to see, but to sow.