Many years ago, when I still lived on the mountain top in Kentucky, I attended the funeral of a man I had known only as the biological father of a young teen through mutual friends. She did not live with her father, and, in all my encounters with either of them, I never heard the first good thing about that man.
When he passed away the funeral was held in a church where a friend of mine was pastor. He knew the man and did an excellent job with the funeral. Bypassing all the evil thoughts most of the gathering had toward the deceased, he incorporated into his message the truth of salvation through Jesus.
Later, I asked him how he did that. He answered that we left here on earth can never be sure whether the deceased had accepted Christ even in the very last moments of life. He had to preach to the living.
I have often thought of his words and the logic behind them. Then, recently I had occasion to remember them and pull the truth from them.
I was asked to handle the funeral for a young man who, as far as anyone knew, had never made a decision for Christ. He attended Vacation Bible School as a child but did not respond to the invitation to know Jesus. As a teen, and then a young adult, life took precedence over that kind of thinking, and so, even as a young adult, he did not publicly profess any belief.
He lived his life as he saw fit and loved his children to the utmost.
Then, unexpectedly, he died! The family had no church home and no pastor, so since I had known them for many years I was asked to perform his funeral.
That’s when I thought back to the pastor’s guidance so many years before. The young man I would be showing respect for had not lived an evil life, as had the other one, but neither had he taken time for worship. To the knowledge of all who knew him, he had never made a decision for salvation through Jesus.
I could only bring a message of hope that in his last hour, minutes or moments of life he had chosen Jesus. He had the knowledge of what he needed to do and he had those last moments to decide.
A week later, his younger brother is still suffering because he is unsure if his brother made that decision.
Though many who profess to know Jesus turn, or return, to a life not exemplary of what you or I expect of a Christian, we cannot judge them or their eternal destiny by what we have witnessed here on earth. The judging is not ours to do. Thank God for that as you thank Him for your own salvation.
Take comfort in knowing the opportunity had been presented to them.
If you have not made your own decision for Christ, there is no better time. As with this young man, your life could be required of you today, tonight or tomorrow. Don’t wait! Don’t leave your loved ones wondering.
Ask Jesus into your heart today, right now, right where you sit or stand! He is listening for your voice.