(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 4)
This morning, I was reminded of the urgency of the commission which Jesus gave to his disciples and by extension, all those who belong to his body and have therefore received the good news that led to their souls’ salvation.
Jesus did not save us to sit down but to go out and tell others the good news about how they too can come into the blessing that we received. In Mark 16:15-16, Jesus commanded: “GO ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
Commenting on the brevity of mankind’s life, in Psalm 90:1-10, the Psalmist stated:
- “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
- Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth… For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”
Hebrews 9:27 also lets mankind to know that, “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…”
Our lives are therefore short, our allotted time span on average being 70 to 80 years of age and truth be told, the majority of people do not even reach 70 but die earlier. When we die, we do not just dissipate into nothing and that be the end of our story (as some hope) but God, the one who created us, has let us know that when we close our eyes here, we go into eternity, that we will be judged for what we have done in this life and our souls, which will live on forever, will be ushered either into God’s heaven (a place of blissful peace) or hell (a place of painful torment).
God is not in the business of lying. That is the devil’s work. God is a God of truth and therefore, whatever he has seen it fit to tell us in his Word, the Bible, we can wholeheartedly believe because it is true.
Numbers 23:19 declares: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
It thereby follows that we all have a judgment to face when we’ve departed this earth or Jesus Christ returns, whichever is sooner.
2 Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
In light of the fact that life is short, that how long each of us have to live is uncertain and that God’s judgment, when this life is over is sure, these factors remind us that the commission which Jesus gave to believers is not one to be toyed with, minimized, delayed, ignored, neglected or treated as trivial.
We ought not to have a cavalier, casual approach to doing God’s work because people are dying everyday and if outside of Christ’s covering are going to a lost, hopeless eternity.
Time is of the essence. In short: Given that human beings are mortal and must die, the commission of the Lord to his children, to go forth and tell people about sin, righteousness and judgment and in particular, how their souls can be saved from God’s wrath to come is an urgent one. For, given that our individual life spans are uncertain and death is inevitable, the danger of a soul dying outside of the righteous covering of Jesus Christ and therefore being ushered to hell, is always looming.
This morning, I was reminded of this truth. I received news that an elderly man from my village, who I had taken a liking to, had suddenly passed. He had not been bedridden, seemed to have been in good health, in his right mind and often walked up and down the village briskly, enjoying his life. In fact, although he had to have been in his 80s, he was slim and trim and looked like he just might make at least ten more years.
I found this man to be fascinating, as a few years back, it dawned on me that all of this man’s brothers had died but God had preserved his life alone and to a ripe old age. Whenever I met him therefore, we would explain pleasantries and I would quickly remind him that the Lord loved him and that he wanted to save him.
Him being on my radar, I felt though that I needed to give him the gospel in its entirety, as I did not want him to have lived for so long and then to die outside of Christ and face a lost eternity. I wanted his long life to count for something and it could only count if he surrendered it to the Jesus Christ. I thought to myself, after taking all of his male siblings, God must have had a reason for causing him to continue living for so many years after.
Although I felt the need to give him the gospel and toyed with the idea of visiting his home which was high up on a hill, I didn’t. However, in 2020, when the covid pandemic hit and my mother received some hampers which the government had given to Churches to distribute, I put in a request to her, to ensure that my dear elderly friend would receive one of them. We sent word to him that we had something for him and he came to our home and received the hamper gladly. When I explained that the government was giving out hampers and we had a few to give out from our Church, he beamed from cheek to cheek in the sort of way a person does when he feels cared for and said, “And you thought of including me?”
I think that he was surprised that of all the villagers we could have given, that we remembered him and I could sense that he was very grateful.
After that time, I would still occasionally see him on the village streets and we would have a pleasant banter. He would even tell me that there were days that he would look for me whenever he passed my home but did not see me, so thought that I had left the village.
I knew nothing about this man’s past or life, nor did I care. I just took a liking to him and I desired very much to see him saved. However, I still did not go visit him, although I had walked to his home with the governmental hamper, climbed the stairs up to the top of the hill and called out to him repeatedly without success. Although he had been at home at the time (the radio was on), he did not hear me. The message was therefore left with a neighbour for him to contact me and he collected the hamper eventually at my home.
Then, maybe about a year later, about August 2021, I got the shocking news that my friend had fallen while socializing somewhere in the village and that he had been taken to the hospital. I did not know the details of what had transpired or if he had fallen due to illness but the thought that he may not make it, bombarded my mind. I therefore went to the Lord desperately, repeatedly in prayer, asking that he would spare his life. As far as I knew, he was not yet saved and I felt that I had been negligent, as I had seen this man for so many months and even years and yet, had never once given him the full gospel.
I therefore asked the Lord if he would please spare his life and give him more time, if only so that I could get the gospel to him.
God answered my prayer and he left the hospital and was soon seen up and about again in the village, as strong and as healthy as before, always with that pleasant smile on his face. We continued to have short, quick conversations in passing, me even asking him if he had taken the vaccine and when he said he was not taking it, I told him to be careful, as I wanted to see him live a very long life.
In November 2021 or thereabout, the idea came to my mind to give out some hampers. I was not receiving a monthly income then as I had just opened a business and things were coming along slowly. It therefore meant that I would need to take the money out from my decreasing savings but I resolved that I would do it, as I saw it as the perfect opportunity to bless the recipients with the gospel message.
I decided to purchase groceries for three persons and of course, my elderly friend was number one on the list. In giving him the groceries, I would finally get the opportunity to explain the gospel to him, through something in writing.
On 21st December, 2021 therefore, I proceeded to purchase the groceries for my elderly friend, another elderly man and a poor family with children.
The idea for the family came from a villager who lived close to my elderly friend. We had given this family one of the governmental hampers and so, not remembering the family’s name or having any contact information, I contacted the villager who promised to inform the mother when the groceries were ready. I explained to her that I had not yet purchased the items but would the next day (21st December, 2022) so that the package should be ready by Thursday 23rd. I also informed her that my elderly friend would be given one as well and asked if she could collect it for him when it was ready.
After that phone conversation, some kind of mix-up took place, as the villager apparently told my friend that I had a package for him. On the very day that I had made the purchases and brought them home, maybe an hour or so after, my elderly friend showed up outside my home, saying that he had heard that I had something for him. I confirmed that I did but asked him to come back the next day at about 2.00 p.m., as I had just purchased the items and due to the covid threat, did not want to distribute them until they had had a chance to ventilate a bit.
I had also not had the chance to pack them out in each of the bags as I wanted to do, so I definitely could not begin to distribute anything on that day. out any of the groceries on that day.
At about 4.00 p.m. the next day, around the same time that the lady from the family came to collect hers on behalf of her family, my elderly friend came to collect his. I told him that the bags were a bit heavy (there were two bags) and that he might need transportation but he assured me that he was strong enough to carry them. I told him that I had placed something in one of the bags for him to read and that I hoped that he would read it. He assured me that he could read and gleefully, he picked up his two bags and although heavy, walked with them to his home, which was about a quarter mile from ours.
I felt relieved and happy that I had finally gotten the gospel to my elderly friend. It was provided in an Article that I felt the Lord wanted me to write, about Christmas and what it meant. In fact, on 22nd December, 2022, the day two of the packages were collected but before the recipients had come to collect them, I wrote about this on my Page. I explained that I felt that the Lord wanted me to use Christmas as the launching point to share the gospel message in the hampers. I therefore put aside other writing material I had planned to use and wrote what I felt the Lord wanted me to write, explaining the real meaning of Christmas and presenting the gospel.
(What I wrote can be found under No. 306 under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ page entitled, ‘Why We Celebrate Christmas’.) On a separate page that I attached to each of the three documents, I had put a prayer that could be used by the recipients if they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection, wanted to confess him as Lord and to surrender their lives over to him.
After the hamper distribution, I heard my friend talking with someone at the junction on one occasion some time after and I saw him a few times walking briskly on the road as he often does.
I sincerely hoped that he had had a lovely Christmas and about a week ago, I wondered if he had finished all of the grocery items as yet. My mom, who had seen what I had purchased, said that he wouldn’t have. In her view, he was bound to still have some items remaining.
Then last Sunday, after Church, my aunt informed my mother and I that my elderly friend had met her somewhere and told her that I had given him groceries. In her words, he told her, “That girl really loves me you know. If you see the things she gave me.”
I smiled. I did not know that he had been going around the village telling people that he had received Christmas groceries but apparently he had been doing just that. It warmed my heart to know that he appreciated the items, although I had not done it to be noised abroad. I love doing things quietly for my audience of one, which is Jesus but sometimes, for his purposes, he sends the news out and people find out. I therefore regarded it as what God had allowed.
I told my aunt that he did not just receive groceries but also the gospel which was the main reason behind giving him the groceries. His soul’s salvation was more important than his appetite being filled. She was glad to know that he received the gospel message with the hamper and so was I.
I then forgot all about these events until this morning. While in my room having my devotions, I heard a neighbour mention his name to another neighbour, who was one of his relatives. I thought nothing of it and continued doing what I was doing, until I overheard my mother speaking to someone on the phone about an hour later. She was expressing shock at someone’s passing and how sudden it had been and so I thought, someone had passed again. Since the pandemic, people have been dying like flies so I didn’t think much of it. That was until I heard her comment to the person, that the person who had died was the only one of his male siblings to have lived so long.
Immediately, I remembered hearing the name of my elderly friend being called by a neighbour that morning and I knew. My dear friend had suddenly died!
How was it possible? I thought. He was strong and up and about just recently!
When my mom completed the phone call, she did not say anything to me but I came to her and enquired as to whether my friend had passed. She confirmed it and shortly thereafter, I picked up my phone and saw that the daughter of the neighbour who lived close to him, had sent me the news since 5.34 a.m. that morning.
It was sudden and shocking but I felt at peace. I felt at peace because, as sad as the news was, I felt thankful and grateful, that God had given me the opportunity to reach my friend with the gospel, while he was alive. I had broken it down in simple terms so that he could understand and personalized it by mentioned his name, reminding him that God loved him.
I thought back to that time last August or so, when I had heard that he had been hospitalized and how I had asked God to spare his life, if only that I would have the opportunity to give him the gospel.
God did in his faithfulness and I gave him the gospel in written form in a hamper on the 22nd December, 2021. He left beaming from cheek to cheek but who knew that one month later (today is 20th January, 2022), he would have departed this life?
Nobody knew. I knew he was elderly and maybe had a few more years to live and I was even planning to give him another hamper with a biblical message again for Easter, if God spared life but he did not make it to then. Nobody knew that he would pass so suddenly but God knew and in his mercy, he allowed him more time, in the nick of time, to be presented with the gospel message.
I am sure in his long life, that he would have heard it on many occasions before and maybe had even attended Crusades and other Church services but this time, the gospel came right home to him and was presented in simplicity with him specifically in mind. I could only hope that he had believed the good news contained in the document he received and in the privacy of his home, surrendered his heart, in faith, to Jesus Christ. If he did, then it would be reason to rejoice indeed!
I don’t know if he did but God knows and at the end of the day, God had been very good to him. He gave him long life (something his other male siblings did not get the privilege of enjoying), general good health and one month before his passing, used me to present the gospel message to him in simplicity. He therefore had time (a few weeks to be exact), to read the message, to mull it over in his mind and to do so over and over again, if necessary.
I could hardly believe it. God had used me to write and give this man an Article with the gospel message, one month before the time he planned to remove him from this earth’s scene.
This was humbling and reminded me that God can use any of his children, even when they are not aware that they are being used. It also reminded me that I am his servant, to be used whenever or however he pleases and that I am to obey the commission to reach souls for Him.
Additionally, I was reminded that life is short, its duration uncertain and death is inevitable. We must therefore never take it for granted, that we will have time to do what we need to do. We must be about the Father’s business and give it the priority that it deserves.
We must not be content to say that the gospel message is given inside the Church building, so that whoever is interested, must come into the Church doors to visit. No. We must GO and reach people where they are and give them what we have been mandated by the Lord to give. To keep it to ourselves while we attend to our own affairs and to give the excuse that we are busy is to be selfish, uncaring and reckless with this message with which we have been entrusted.
The commission is urgent and whenever we feel God’s pull to witness to someone, we must be quick to obey. Had I not given my elderly friend the gospel, I would have felt guilty, as his death would have signified a lost opportunity, an opportunity that God gave me time and time again, that I refused to take and which I would never get again.
I was also reminded of 2 Timothy 4:1-2, where Paul, in his writings, told Timothy:
- “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.”
Sharing the gospel message in season, out of season, means to do so no matter what we may face, how we may feel or what people may think.
Admittedly, there are times that I don’t feel in the mood and sharing the gospel is the last thing I feel like doing but I have learned that, even when I don’t feel like doing so, God is able to do something magnificent when I disregard how I feel and obey.
As Christians, we are not to operate based on how we feel. Feelings change but the truth, sincerity and importance of God’s gospel message does not. Irrespective of how we feel therefore or what is going on around us or whether giving the gospel seems fashionable or not or it seems like the time to give it is not appropriate, we must still give it. We must share it in season, out of season and that means when things are going good for us or even in our bad seasons.
If I had sat down and refused to give my elderly friend the gospel because I was fed up of being single, having no family of my own, no stable job bringing in a monthly income and other problems that seem to plague me, I would not have obeyed the mandate. I would have made it all about me and not about Christ.
As the Lord’s servants, whatever we may face at any point in time, whether we are up on a mountain with gladness or down in a valley with sorrow, even when we face problem after problem and feel weary and tired, we are still to share the gospel with others, still pray for others and still be about the Lord’s work.
We ought not to wait for a convenient season or to wait until we are in a good mood therefore. No. The commission is too urgent. The harvest is ready for the picking and labourers are needed in the Lord’s vineyard, for the reaping. In Matthew 9:37-38, Jesus himself stated: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
(Written on 20th January, 2022) (In loving memory of my elderly friend, Nathaniel).
Tonight I was listening to an online recorded Sermon from Pastor Wayne Maynard of the Shiloh Baptist Church, which he had preached on 24th April, 2022. The Sermon was entitled: ‘Are You Busy Or Are You Burdened?’ and nearing the end of his Sermon, he mentioned the same verse in Matthew 9:37-38, where Jesus stated that the harvest was plenteous but the labourers were few.
He went on to state something that was so true, even of my own experience in my little ministry, that I stopped the recording, played it back and recorded his words on my phone.
- “Jesus had a burden and my friend, when God gives you a burden, a passion, a desire, it is not impacted by circumstances. It is not impacted by the season. Even when I’m hurt, that burden doesn’t go away. That burden keeps me FUELED. That burden keeps me GOING. That burden keeps me ON THE PATH, inspite of criticism, inspite of disappointment, inspite of even failure. That burden – The apostle Paul says: Listen, Woe is me if I preach not the gospel. You can’t quench it with criticism. You can’t even quench it with failure. Why? Because it’s placed there, by a burning desire to do the will of almighty God.
- It is not a bad thing to be busy about the Master’s business but let it be that we are PROPELLED, that we are MOTIVATED, that we are FUELED, by God giving us a burden, a desire, a passion, to see people one with the gospel, not so that we can add them to our trophy case but that they can be rescued from the devastation of an eternity without Christ.
- We have a mandate. We have a mission, to reach a lost and dying world. And let it be that we are busy about the Master’s business but let it be that that busyness is because our passion, our burden, it has been FUELED by almighty God… And even as we see the day approaching, we recognize that time is short…”
Having personally been through (and to some extent, still going through) endless disappointment, failure, criticism, hurt, adverse circumstances and low seasons as I advanced the work of God, YET, I remained focused and pressed on, never losing my passion for writing about God’s Word whenever I felt led to do so and seeing to it that it was published or distributed to people.
In the middle of the Coronavirus Pandemic, I was writing and publishing and in the middle of singleness and wanting to be married and feeling saddened on occasion because I was getting older and no suitable suitor had yet arrived on the horizon, I still did God’s work. In the middle of my career problems, bouts of unemployment (some for long periods) and dwindling funds, I still invested something of what I had into God’s work, using my finances, time and other resources and willingly. Because God has placed this work in my heart to do, I love it and am so passionate about it, that adversity, criticism, disappointment and hurt are not strong enough to stop it.
Despite all that was happening around me, whether having a mountainous experience or being down in a valley or what at times felt like a horrible pit or prison, I felt propelled, spurred on and fuelled to continue writing. Indeed, I could not stop. God’s work was too important and what he was placing on my heart to write and publish was way too valuable to be kept to myself. That is why although my initial blog was shut down after uploading the first set of Articles and Facebook removed the Notes feature with little notice, causing all of my uploaded Notes to be scattered and some even to go missing, I persevered. I pushed on and I opened this Page, although it required me to upload hundreds of Articles all over again from scratch and cost money to establish the Website and continuously costs me money to keep it operating.
For, I knew that what God had placed on my heart was not just for myself but for others. He didn’t give me all that he did, this treasure in an earthen vessel, for myself but for the benefit of lost souls and the edification of the saints throughout the world.
I therefore PRESS ON, continue to PERSEVERE and to PUSH because I know that for as long as God continues to give me material about his Word to write on and moves me by his grace to go write it, this work will continue.
(Addendum written on 26th April, 2022)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 193 – ‘Woe, If We Preach Not The Gospel’
- Note 109 – ‘Dear Christian, Is God Calling You To Do Something?’
- Note 111 – ‘What I Have Learned About Obeying God’s Call In Ministry’
- Note 162 – ‘The Spirit Of Prophecy’
- Note 163 – ‘What Is The Gospel Of God?’
- Note 169 – ‘The Christian’s Mandate – Go’
- Note 183 – ‘The Beauty Of Being About The Father’s Business’
- Note 187 – ‘Stirring Up The Gift – Getting God’s Work Done’
- Note 198 – ‘Oh Teach Me To Number My Days’
Additionally, under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ Page:
- Note 100 – ‘Sharing The Gospel Message’
- Note 302 – ‘God Has Said It, So That Settles It’
- Note 304 – ‘Master Of Your Own Fate?’
- Note 306 – ‘Why We Celebrate Christmas’