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A Tale of Two Men

25 May 2007

The time and place of one’s death is never assured, unless one is dying of terminal cancer. When we’re young, we tend to think death is somewhere far in the future, so we don’t take care of the eternal things.

The first man lived a typical American life. In his early forties, he had a good paying job, a wife who loved him, and beautiful young children. Church was a part of their lives, but not really part of his. He was the husband who came to church occasionally to appease his wife. He understood the Christian message; he just wasn’t ready to take it up, yet. He’d get to it when it really mattered. This man died suddenly, of a disease that hid itself right up to the end. He died never having accepted Christ even though he knew what he was risking.

The second man lived for himself all his life. Now old, he was suffering the consequences of a life of excess. Slowly fighting for breath he stubbornly held off his brother’s pleas that he accept Jesus as savior. With death near, he was planning to continue his obstinate refusal to allow someone else to be the guiding force of his life. His brother prayed. A call was made to an evangelist. Little progress was made from his visit. But God had a plan for this man’s life. The nursing staff, beautiful Christian women, took up the cause. By the next day, the man had accepted Jesus, and the difference was stark. The gloom and depression of dying had been replaced by joy. Finally knowing the savior, he now knew that Jesus wasn’t about denying him life but was in fact giving him life even as his own physical body failed him.

It’s joy to know the savior. He offers an abundant life. We cling to things that we are sure he will make us give up if we take up his offer. Loathe to give up our habits, we choose to refuse his call never understanding that Jesus doesn’t ask you to give up your cigarettes or your drinking. He asks you to believe on him and make him Lord of your life. Yes, you will give those things up, but it won’t be a tsk, tsk, naughty, naughty, slap your hand, be a good boy kind of thing. Jesus offers something better, and once you begin to experience the joy of living life with him there with you, you’ll reach for more and more of the something better.

You can live your life like the first man and find yourself in an early grave without a savior. Or you can live your life like the second man and find yourself at the end with a life of despair meeting and accepting the savior just moments before you step into eternity. Or you can accept Jesus as your savior now and have an abundant life now. Trials and tribulation, additions and wrong choices will still plague you, but there will be joy in your life because you will be united to the one who truly loves you and truly wants the best for you and truly has the resources to make that happen for you. How you live your life is always your choice. Before you accept Jesus, you cannot know the glory that waits on the other side of acceptance. Don’t let the habits you think you must hold on to keep you from choosing Christ.

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