You have most likely heard of the collapse of a new section that was being erected at Jacaranda Centre, Rietfontein, in the Moot area today. According to the reports I have seen, one person was killed and a few injured. The pictures paint a grim picture of the disaster. Renovations to refurbish this mall started more than a year ago with the intention of reopening in October this year. With the appearance of Covid-19, the reopening was delayed and rescheduled to open in phases from the end of the year. This incident will force a further delay.
This evening, I received an email from a friend who included a newsletter from the care centre where his late wife was a resident. In July they had 20 deaths, 12 of which were caused by Covid-19. I’m not sure about you, but when I read of or hear of a death (or more than one death), my first thought is about their eternal destination. Has their soul gone to heaven or to hell? You see, one of my regular prayer requests is that God would daily develop my focus to be on eternity. On the one hand, it helps me watch my life and behaviour as I am living in the light of eternity. On the other hand, it inclines my heart to be sensitive to opportunities of sharing the gospel … even in the most subtle and gentle manner.
When I was at Lighting Warehouse yesterday, the lady assistant asked me how I was. I said that I can’t complain because if I do my wife will beat me up. The intent was jovial … she laughed and asked me if my wife really did that. I responded saying no … but added that so many say they are well, good or okay but their faces show pain, worry or fear. When I paid for the lamps, she laughingly said, “Your wife won’t hit you now!”
I replied, “No, she won’t. In a few months we will be married for 50 years.”
She then said, “Wow … most people never get that far.”
I responded saying that the reason we have got this far is because of Jesus in our relationship. She was staggered! You see, death is a real issue. We face it daily. Some ignore it because it’s such a common phenomenon that they don’t bat an eyelid. Others are socked each time death is mentioned or heard of. I pray … not for the deceased’s soul, but for the bereaved. Hearing about death ought to switch on that inner alert that there is a real heaven and a real hell … and people need Jesus. Yes, we do sympathize with the bereaved and we do not imply the deceased is in either heaven or hell if we are uncertain they were Born Again … but the reality is that eternity in heaven or eternity in hell is forever. This ought to spur the blood-washed children of God to:
Be Thankful for Personal Salvation
First, we should be thankful to God for personal salvation. Many Christians are not able to express themselves in thanksgiving to God. Many find it hard to articulate the feelings of the heart. This is where ‘Praise Psalms’ are extremely helpful. The word ‘praise’ appears 169 times in the NIV Bible. Read a Psalm such as Psalm 100:
Ps 100:1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Or, read a book like 2 Corinthians:
2Co 9:15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Pray for an Evangelistic Heart
Also, we should pray for an evangelistic heart. If you don’t have a heart for lost souls, you will never be eternity minded. Sometimes people are naturally urgent in wanting souls for Jesus … but most people are not that way inclined. This is the reason I say you need to pray for an evangelistic heart.
Pray for Lost Souls
We should pray for lost souls to be saved. There was a man who said he prayed for everyone in the world every night before he turned into bed. Like me, you know this is nonsense … but he was adamant. He then said to me: “I pray like this: ‘Dear God, bless everyone in the world. Amen.'” That’s not praying at all. We need to pray for people by name to be saved. You have lists and lists of people that need Jesus in their lives. I like the idea of a “ten most wanted list”. Write their names down and pray that God will save their souls.
Learn the Gospel
We should learn the Gospel. By this, I mean learn the Gospel’s ingredients. Too many people attempt to share the Gospel with lost souls, but because they do not know the Gospel message’s content, they tend to mess up. Over many years, I have learnt various Gospel presentations and must confess that Matthias Press’ “Two Ways to Live” is the best presentation because it’s Biblical, starts at the right place, includes all the necessary aspects of God’s rescue plan and ends with a choice of living God’s way or continuing to live your own way. Your way means you are your lord. Living God’s way means Jesus is your Lord.
Share the Gospel
Finally, start sharing the Gospel, the only message that has meaning for this life and the life hereafter! Consider this young man:
Mk 10:17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.”’
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
This man’s god was wealth. It’s a picture of most people today that are captivated by something earthly. They need Jesus. Unless you share, they will never know they are trapped in sin and in need of help … and the help they need is the gospel of Jesus.
Dear God, so many people are dying all around me. Where are they going? Please give me a heart for eternity and for souls so that through praying and sharing the message, some might hear and believe. Amen.