Today has been one of the hardest and most draining days that I’ve had since I’ve been in ministry. I really didn’t have to do anything today either, except watch a family grieve as they said goodbye to a 21 year old kid that died way too young. I didn’t have to speak at the funeral, but as I set there, watching family members weep uncontrollably at times, and watching this kid’s friends walk up to his casket, I’m just emotionally and spiritually drained. This kid’s death could have been completely prevented. It was an accidental overdose, so all of those involved are just heartbroken, thinking what could have been. I think I met him once or twice in passing, so it’s not that I was emotionally tied to him. But his aunt and uncle are core members at my church. And their youngest daughter is the same age. Watching all of them deal with his death breaks my heart, because there is nothing I can do to take away their pain. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it!
But it’s not really what you think. I’m not sick of ministry. I’m not sick of trying to be there for people as they go through tragedy. What I’m sick of is sitting back and not doing more to try to introduce people to Jesus that don’t know him. The kid that died was not a professing Christian to my knowledge. And now he’s gone. My heart breaks for the family, but more than that, my heart breaks for his friends. As I sat in that funeral home this morning, it was amazing to see the different crowds. You had his family and friends of the family that all sat toward the front. It was the type of crowd that you would typically see at a funeral. But then behind the row I was sitting in, there was a crowd of his friends. I try not to judge by appearances, but it was the type of crowd that you would expect to see at a wild party somewhere. These are the people that my heart truly breaks for.
A few of them, before the funeral started, and before the family was actually brought in to the chapel, came up to the casket one at a time. They stood there looking at their friend with the same blank expression on their faces. They didn’t understand what was going on. And who could blame them. When you’re 21 years old, you think you’re invincible. All I could think while watching them then, and as they were filing out of the funeral home after the service was I hope and pray that seeing your friend lose his life this young will be a wake-up call. But not just a wake-up call to get clean and live life sober. I pray that they see this as a wake-up call that life with a relationship with Jesus is so much better than any other kind of life.
It’s been a wake-up call for me, that’s for sure. I’m sick of not doing as much as I can to impact the community around me for Jesus. This world is lost, and seems to be getter further and further from the truth at a rapid pace. And there is only one thing that can fix that. Jesus. He’s the answer. Addiction takes hold in many forms, and it’s usually an attempt to fill a void in our life. But there is only one thing that can actually fill that void. John 10:10 reads, “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Those of us that have found Jesus and have a relationship with Him have got to stop keeping Him to ourselves. This world depends on it. This world desperately needs Jesus, and we are called to help make the introduction. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about being unashamed of the gospel (read that here). In other words, we need to live out our faith, and we need to be sharing it with those that we are able to build relationships with. If watching this family mourn the loss of a 21 year old kid has taught me one thing, it’s that the stakes are even higher than we could imagine. We’ve got to start sharing Christ with those that don’t know Him, because you never know how much time someone has.
Romans 1:16, 17 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”