Everyone I know has spoken about an opportunity in life where a wrong decision was made causing an unwanted result that brought months or years of regrets. For believers, this often involves an opportunity to share our faith in Jesus Christ with an unbeliever. The Gospel message is for everyone to share, not just deacons and pastors. We must make the best of the opportunities God provides in order to be obedient to Him as followers of Jesus.
When I was a police officer I responded to thousands of calls for assistance. Once such call was at a residence and upon arrival I heard a man’s voice calling out from inside an apartment. I tried to make entry, but he was laying on the floor against the front door of the residence and he was rather obese. I had to push quite hard to gently move him far enough so I could enter the residence. Once inside I was able to reposition him so responding medics could also enter his home and render assistance.
Immediately I noticed the man’s skin had a dark yellow tone, which was indicative of imminent liver failure. His apartment was littered with empty beer cans and this state of extremely poor health in his 40’s meant that he had lived a life of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. The man just looked up at me and I could see in his eyes that he was frightened. He managed to say that he was having trouble breathing, so my impulsive response in an effort to comfort him was, “Don’t worry, buddy. We will get you to the hospital and get you fixed right up.”
The problem was that my statement was a blatant lie. We both knew he was dying and my suspicions were soon confirmed when he passed away during the ambulance on the ride to the hospital. Why did I lie to him? In my feeble attempt to offer comfort to a dying soul I thought that a well-intended lie would be what he needed to hear. What I should have done was speak the words of eternal life to him while there was still time, but I failed to do this and wasted the opportunity. I now live with regret over this incident.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the Word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:3-6 ESV)
My problem was that I was not walking (or acting) in wisdom, but rather in impulsive behavior of my own design. Had I followed Paul’s advice I would have made the best use of the time and responded with biblical wisdom to comfort him. God had given me this opportunity to be there with this man during the last minutes of his life and I failed to do my duty as a Christian to share the Gospel. I don’t know what he believed because time was too short to really inquire. I pray that he was reconciled with God prior to his death, but I will not know this for certain until I meet my Savior.
Think of the people in your life right now who do not know Christ as Savior. Have you been faithful to your Lord and shared the Gospel? If not, don’t allow time to get away from you. Use your time wisely and with the wisdom that God provides (Proverbs 9:10) to ensure no opportunity is ever wasted. Your efforts may be the necessary step for them to hear and respond to the Gospel, so that they may have eternal life in Jesus Christ.