Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Once in a lifetime

This morning I opened the 2002 Daily Bread Devotional book. It is a compilation of all the year's devotionals. I came across the book at my parents business and decided to take it home and revisit the old devotionals. Truth is truth in 2002 just the same as it is in 2013, right?
I turned the page to today's date and read through the little story. It was cute but not earth shattering, at least not for me today. It didn't convict me of anything in particular and didn't necessarily open my eyes to a truth I had been missing. It was a sweet reminder of God's grace and providence, which is always a welcomed reminder.
It is what I found in the pages just before today's date that caught my attention. I noticed what appeared to be a bookmark tucked between the earlier pages. Being from 2002, I was immediately curious as to what the little piece of paper might contain. It is always interesting to look back years later on old writings, sermon notes and bulletins. I find myself transported by these old artifacts, almost as if opening a time capsule that has been buried deep within the ground just waiting for future generations to come and explore.
The little bookmark turned out not to be a bookmark at all. I read the first line, "Necessary only once in a lifetime." It was as if someone threw cold water in my face. For some reason that simple sentence stunned me. Was this a revival hand out that an old church gave out as a means to preach the gospel and draw people to Christ?
I read on.... "The purchase of a Cemetery Plot." This had no Christian affiliation. The little scrap of paper was an advertisement for La Fayette Memorial Park burial. The card went on to lay out the advantages to purchasing a plot now instead of later, purchasing the "before need plan"..."large savings," "no last minute hasty decisions".... The card goes on to tell potential buyers that their inquiries are invited and visitation always welcome.
My immediate reaction of shock gave way to a convicted heart. This card was once used to sell something so personal and, really, quite morbid. Can you imagine having to sell a grave site to someone who hasn't died yet? Do you target a certain audience? The sick, the weak, the old? Or do you just hand a card out to everyone, trying not to be biased in your sales approach? This is certainly one sales job I wouldn't enjoy. The thought of having to sell someone on where their lifeless body will lay is not a pleasant conversation to imagine.
I'd rather talk to people about where their soul will go.
As Christians, we don't need to worry about being the perfect salesman or having the right advertising hand outs. We have the most amazing gift to offer. It doesn't require a downpayment or monthly bill. The cost has already been covered. The debt has already paid. Our job is to spread the message - no sales experience necessary.
What we have to present is eternal, lasting longer then our mortal bodies and far more important then what plot we will choose for our burial ground. Spreading the gospel is the ultimate sale. We are telling people about a place for their soul to rest today and after this life comes to a close. Are we diligent and steadfast in revealing this amazing offer to those who have yet to discover it?
This isn't a limited time offer and it isn't on discount for one day only. This offer is good from now until the day we each pass from this earth. But why make a "last minute hasty decision".... make the "before need plan."
The amazing part of this plan is the benefit you will receive now, today, right in this current moment before death comes knocking. You will receive salvation today! God's Holy Spirit will come into your heart immediately. You aren't signing up for a product that you will have to wait to use, and then not even be around to enjoy. You are coming on board a lifetime adventure that starts today and extends past the limitations of this life, into the realm of everlasting eternity.
Today, take each opportunity to spread this message to the lost and weary in this world who are in desperate need of the truth you have to show them. Ask God to bring along your path  a heart that is soft to hear the message and open to the words of the gospel. Speak the name of Jesus Christ to a lost world in need of his salvation.
You may not come armed with a bookmark sized print out. Don't worry, this isn't a sales pitch. This is something much more exciting then anything that can be purchased. Spreading the benefits of this opportunity is much more appealing then having to convince someone to think about a burial plot. So, don't shy away from telling people about the good news and all its "benefits and advantages"!

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