While I was at Costco the other day I was struck by how many different nationalities and languages were represented just at this one Costco location. I admit that my first thought was that the America that I had grown up in my WASPISH hometown of Valparaiso, Indiana has certainly changed. I don’t ever remember as a child going anywhere in my town and seeing people who didn’t speak English, dress similar to me, or in essence ‘look and act’ like me.
The Lord brought to my mind that people “from every tongue, tribe and nation” will populate heaven (Revelation 5:9). How wonderful it is to know that we will be worshipping and spending eternity with Jesus and with brothers and sisters from every corner of the world, from every time period in history, for all eternity!
I am aware that there are many who have seen the changes in America who resent the change in our demographics. I admit that I am troubled not by the fact that there are other people groups coming to the United States, but that some of them are bringing to America their belief in false gods.
Then it occurred to me that perhaps God has brought so many varied people groups to the United States because, for the most part, the Church in the last half century has failed to obey Jesus’ command as recorded in Matthew 28:19, to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.“
Perhaps since we who have been immeasurably blessed haven’t been very faithful to use the resources He’s bestowed upon us to go out into the world, He is bringing people from ‘throughout the world’ to America for us to disciple. He has entrusted us with the privilege and responsibility of sharing the good news with those who don’t know it so that they can be freed from the penalty and power of their sin by putting their faith in the atoning work of Jesus on the cross.
I was immediately convicted about how easy it is for me to nod at others, smile at them, maybe even make small talk, and then go on with my life. I recognized that’s particularly true for those who seem ‘different’ from me. I thought of how many ‘missed opportunities’ I’ve been given to share the life-giving news of Jesus with others.
I recalled hearing of a man who was on the streets of New York who boldly and with a huge smile asked some people as they passed by, “Have you heard the good news?” The people responded, “What good news?” And he replied, “That Jesus the Son of God came to earth to die so that you don’t have to!” Wow! How convicting it was to hear of this ‘man on the street’ sharing this simple yet profound message. Obviously, this man loved Jesus, and he also loved others so much that he was willing to ‘die to his pride’ and share what in reality is the only message that can change lives for all eternity!
What a difference it would make if all of us who profess to be followers of Christ actually followed His command to share the life-saving news of His life, death, and resurrection with others! If we clearly envisioned every person we meet as either knowing Jesus, and therefore as a ‘brother or a sister’, or as a potential ‘brother or sister’ who hasn’t yet been brought into the family, think how differently we might respond to people.
The question I realized that I have to ask myself is, “Whom do I really love?” If I love Jesus, I will obey His commands (John14:15). If I love others—no matter their nationality, language, or socio-economic background– I will share with them the gospel so that they too can have abundant life on earth, and spend eternity with those from ‘every tongue and tribe’ worshipping Jesus in Heaven. But if I love myself more than I love Jesus or others I will remain silent and keep the good news to myself.
Who do you love more? Jesus? Others? Yourself? What impact do you think it would have on whether you share the gospel or remain silent if you considered that there may come a day when you look across the chasm between Heaven and Hell and see people who’d you’d encountered on earth who ask you, “Why didn’t you care enough to share the news about Jesus with me when you had the chance?”
Written by JVG