4/23/14 Herman about 40
I began an outreach conversation with a man named Herman who was at the park to watch and pick up his daughter from soccer practice. I began with a general question of what he believes will happen after we die. He was more than happy to talk about it, but said, “You know, I honestly never thought about that before. I don’t really know.” From the way he said it, and the way it made him stop and think, I really believe him, though I can’t imagine someone never giving eternity any serious thought. I asked him “If there is such a thing as eternal life, than wherever it is you can be sure that you will be there a lot longer than you will be here. In only a thousand years this brief life on earth will seem very short, and in a million years it will be like an instant”. Herman agreed, and really seemed amazed himself that he had never thought of it that way. What made it even harder to believe is that he told me he had faced death because of kidney failure, and received a kidney donated from his sister, and through all that never thought about the future of his soul but only about how his family would do without him. He believes in God, and prays when he needs something, but hasn’t showed any spiritual interest outside of that. It reminds me of Paul’s statement in Romans 3 – ““There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” Paul goes on to discuss how wicked people are, which was hard to see in a friendly family man like Herman. He seemed like a good, decent man who just doesn’t seek God. But Paul wrote “there is no one who does good, not even one”, so where does Herman’s goodness come from? In a very basic sense, the Bible teaches that unless a person is born again and the Holy Spirit lives within them, giving them a new heart and new desires, they only do good if influenced by the Holy Spirit and other people and events from outside themselves. Herman, for example, was probably motivated positively by a very solid upbringing that taught him good family values. Like every person, he is obviously not perfect and has sinned against God in various ways, yet he feels no motivation to pursue “righteousness” - a right relationship with God. Where can he get that motivation? How can he begin to find God if he doesn’t even realize he is lost? Maybe when we believers reach out and help him wake up to the reality of eternity, his need for righteousness, and his need to seek God. Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” – not to sit back and wait for the lost to seek Him!