One of them died again. One of the neighbors I built a relationship with. One of the ones I planned to share the good news with. But I didn’t. They died before I did it.
I had the chance, but I put it off. I need to get to know them first I said. Then they stopped coming outside. I thought they might be avoiding me. I had mentioned Jesus and church without going into depth. Perhaps it made them uncomfortable. They didn’t want me asking questions maybe.
A month went by. I saw the vanished neighbor’s neighbor. I asked her if she knew anything. Yea, she knew. That neighbor had died. Unexpected—although she was somewhat old.
It saddened me. This became the third neighbor I had thought to evangelize who died before I got the nerve to. I put my mind on this other neighbor—the dead one’s neighbor. Then she disappeared too.
I finally saw her again. She didn’t die thankfully, but she did have an accident. She fell. She hurt her hip. That’s why she stopped coming outside where I would see her most days.
My neighbors near death. Most have lived eighty years on this earth. They like to see my kids when we go on our walks. Maybe they live lonesome lives. I speak with kindness. I offer help. But it must take three deaths and an accident to motivate me to push the most important words I possess out of my mouth.
When one disappears, something happened according to the statistics. And I never know when they will disappear. What will tomorrow bring? How true this is when I think of the fate of my neighbors. Will they meet God and his judgment tomorrow? It’s possible.
Yes, I know it’s possible for anyone no matter if they’re ten or eight times that. Yet we know for certain the first death inevitably comes soon for the elderly. It’s impossible to live past 120 years (these days). The end comes soon for the fragile bodies effected by disease, age, and failed joints.
Shouldn’t death motivate us to evangelize with urgency? One more person vanishes from their life—and from ours. We either know their destiny or we don’t. Did we know their lost-ness and still didn’t share how they could inherit eternal life? Were we unsure but didn’t care enough to dig and find out? Did we let fear inhibit us? Did we want to avoid conflict?
Whatever it may be, remember death. Death means gone. Forever. No more chances. What’s done is done. God either condemns the vanished one to a second death or transfers them to life eternal. Don’t let them go before you tell them.