I met *Jason the first time when I switched school in fifth grade. He was smart, funny, and very silly. He was the class clown. He could make anyone laugh. He was everyone’s friend.
But as we grew and advanced through grades, he seemed to find trouble more and more. And it wasn’t just in the classroom. Or with teachers or school officials. The first time he had a run-in with the law, we were in eighth grade (I think). He fought. He stole. He cheated.
The fun boy that we all knew and loved was gone. This mean kid had taken his place. And this “new” Jason seemed to only be getting worse.
And then he moved.
I did not see or hear from him until we were in our late 20s. Imagine how surprised I was to see him at a church’s VBS! I spoke with him for quite a while. He hadn’t graduated from high school but chose to get his GED. He met a nice girl. Got married. Became a police officer (that was the one that really shocked me!). Had three children. His wife left him and he continued to raise his children. Alone.
At this point, you could have sneezed and I would have fallen over!
And most of all, he was a wonderful dad. He played with his kids. He enjoyed his kids. He loved his kids. He worked very hard to support them.
We talked more and more. I was still so shocked that this was the same Jason that I had gone to school with. I was elated to see the changes he had made in his life. Before we left, he gave me his phone number and asked if I would please let him know the next time we had a class reunion (I was surprised he had any interest in coming).
Just a couple months later we did have a reunion. I called him and he did come. We were all thrilled to see the man and father that he had become.
And then life went on and things went back to normal and I never saw him again.
About six months later I was cleaning and found the scrap of paper he had written his phone number on. I certainly did not want my husband to think that I had any ulterior motive for keeping Jason’s number so I threw it away. I had done my job anyhow.
The very next day I received a phone call that he had unexpectedly passed away during the night.
I was stunned. Shocked. He was what, 28 years old? People are not supposed to die when they are 28 years old! I felt sick at my stomach. I thought about his sweet children.
But most of all, I thought about him. I wondered about him. Where was he? There was no doubt that a huge change had occurred in his life. Was that because Christ had entered? Maybe. After all, I did see him at a VBS. But I didn’t know for sure. Why didn’t I ask?
Why did I never call him?
Why did I never share the gospel with him?
How many months did I have his number? It was available to me and I did not seize the opportunity. I could have invited him and his children over for supper. I could have asked his family to meet mine at the park to play. I really do think he would have liked that.
But I didn’t.
And the sad truth is that I didn’t even think about it. Didn’t even cross my mind. Why? I don’t even know. Laziness, maybe. Selfishness, maybe. Out of my comfort zone, maybe. Or maybe just believing there will be another day.
I do understand the sovereignty of God. I realize that Jason’s ultimate fate was not/is not dependent upon how obedient I am in sharing the gospel. So I’m not saying that I have a huge amount of guilt. I just realize that I missed an opportunity and a blessing.
And that grieves me.
So what is my point? None of us is guaranteed another day.
With every breath, brag on Jesus.
Keep him foremost in your mind. This is not in our human nature to do, so pray that the Lord increase your love for Him and His word.
Don’t pass up an opportunity to love another person. To really love them. After all, we are all created in His image (Genesis 1:27).
Pray that God gives you opportunities to share the gospel. And then look for them so you recognize them when you see them.
Put away selfish desires and selfish motives.
Take time to commit Scripture to memory. You might not always have your Bible with you. Be prepared.
And most of all, cling to the cross.
Maybe you will be outside your comfort zone. But so what? Do you think that the Apostle Paul was ever outside of his? Probably. Yet, he is known as the greatest evangelist of all times.
All we can do is be obedient when the opportunity arises. The rest is up to God. I am so thankful for this. It is not up to how well I present the Scriptures, how good of a speaker I am, or anything else. If a work is done in someone’s heart, it is the Lord who did it. I am merely a tool in His hand. And if He is able to use something as broken and shattered as me, I am humbled and honored that He chose to use me.
I pray that I arise when the opportunity comes. No more Jasons.
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God have the growth.” –1 Corinthians 3:6
“…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” –James 4:14
*Name changed to protect privacy