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Marlene stands at the bus stop, tapping her foot and pulling her thick, wool jacket tighter around her thin shoulders. A brisk wind blows through the air, grabbing the rain and throwing it back into her face like hundreds of tiny bees stinging simultaneously. Grumbling to herself, she folds her arms. Her eyes scan the road before her for the hundredth time. Every vehicle imaginable rushes by, splashing dark mud onto the edges of her coat. Every vehicle - except the bus.
She almost doesn't notice the nudge at her elbow. Another teenager stands there, glancing down at the iPod in her hands. Neon earplugs block out the sound of the street as she takes a quick moment to glance up and down the road. Marlene watches as she steps off the sidewalk.
It happens all at once. Marlene sees a car turn onto the road at the last second. The glaring headlights shine into her eyes through the bitter rain. She sees the young girl push on, unaware of the danger. In only seconds, a million thoughts rush through her brain. The girl will die. I could reach out and grab her back. I could save her life. No one else is close enough. It's one step...or death.
But the mud, the freezing air...and what if someone sees me and thinks I'm weird? Marlene turns her eyes away. She glances down the street, a smile lighting her face as she finally sees the bus making his way up the road. But her decision comes with a cost.
A scream. A squeal of tires. A deathly silence. And then all at once, a dozen bypasses rush onto the scene, yelling, screaming for help. But it's too late. They all know that as they stare at the still body. The person who would never move again. Never smile. Never see a sunrise. Never feel a gentle, spring breeze rustle their face. Never feel love glowing in their heart.
Marlene trudges onto the bus. She shrugs. It wasn't her fault. Surely, if the girl was meant to live, God could have sent someone else to save her. It must have just been her time.
The growing darkness embraces the bus as it rushes into the distance and away. Away from the tears, the pain, the death. Away from the memories. The nightmares.
Away from her costly decision.
Every one of us should leave that story with a similar description of Marlene in mind. Morbid. Repulsive. Selfish. She definitely isn't someone who we would want to be like. Who in their right mind would willingly let someone suffer - or die - when we could prevent it? If all it took was one little step, who wouldn't take that opportunity to save a life?
What if I told you that we are like Marlene?
You are like her. I am like her. I have willingly let someone walk by me who was headed towards death. I have made the decision to let that person leave without warning them. And why? It's more comfortable. It's easier.
There is an important truth that we so often miss: 10 out of 10 people die. Everyone around you - your family, friends, strangers, enemies - they will all die. What's next?
As Christians, we hold the answer to that question. We have hope! JESUS is the reason we don't have to fear death. He is the reason we can have joy, peace, and true life. He is the reason that the future doesn't have to be a bleak, scary horizon, full of doubt and fear.
Christians hold a priceless treasure in their hands. The Good News is a key. We are all held captive by the chains of death. Sin. Fear. Evil. Yet there is hope! The Good News of Jesus' measureless love for us can break those bonds. It can loosen our fetters so that we walk free! Free forever!
But why is the area of witnessing one that we tend to avoid? Why do we look at it as a "duty" or a horrible task that comes along with being a Christian?
When Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave us a clear-cut command, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." But what else did He say? "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (see Mark 16 and Matthew 28)
Yes, witnessing can be uncomfortable. But why do we fear what man thinks of us when we know that God has commanded us to share His love? We might be rejected, but God is still honored. And do you think that there is any chance, any chance at all that you will get to heaven and hear, "You were a great person, but you shared My love too much?" No...I think most of us will get the exact opposite words. Why wouldn't we be sharing God's love as much as possible? What could hinder us from this honor? The honor of representing Jesus on this earth as His messengers?
I know that many of us struggle in this area. When we think of sharing the Gospel, we make excuses. Our fear often grabs our tongues. We remain silent. I struggle with this often, but we need to remember He is with us always. We can do all things through Christ! What great news this is. We don't have to rely on our own strength, ability, or intelligence. We only need to trust Him.
Will you step out and share the Good News? Or will you let them walk straight towards death without uttering a warning?
As a side note, if you are struggling with witnessing, I really recommend a book by Mark Cahill that was very encouraging in this area in my own life. One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven is full of practical tips, encouragement, and real-life examples that impacted me, making me want to share God's love to everyone. =) It might change the way you view witnessing as well.
Can you think of lost people around you who need to hear the Gospel? How can you take definite steps today to encourage them towards a relationship with God? Comment below!