“I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who ‘took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.’ At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: ‘Look, Lord. See my shells.’ That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life.” (John Piper, 2007)
God help us and keep us from pursuing such a toxic, self-centered dream. The band Lifehouse put it well:
“How can I stand here with you
and not be moved by you
can you tell me
how could it be any better than this?”
How can we sit by unaffected by the opportunity to receive salvation from the God of the universe…at no cost aside from your life? How can we not devote ourselves to becoming co-heirs with Christ? How can we possibly hoard our faith and try to keep the majesty of Jesus Christ to ourselves? That may be the most hateful thing anyone can do.
Comedian-magician and atheist Penn Jillette once said, “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. If you believe there is a heaven and hell…and you think it’s not really worth telling them this because it would be socially awkward…how much do you have to hate someone to not proselytize?” What a powerful thought. What a convicting thought.
If we care, we will tell the world. If we love people, how can we let them go to hell.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-17)