Art Linkletter told about a study in which 50 people over the age of 95 were asked one question: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?” The question was open-ended, and people’s answers were varied. However, three themes consistently emerged:
• If I had my life to do over again, I would reflect more.
• If I had my life to do over again, I would risk more.
• If I had my life to do over again, I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.
Biblically speaking, we learn that only three things are eternal.
• The Bible. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).
• The Church. “… The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18).
• People. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
If you and I are to live lives that will live on after we are dead, we must be making investments in these things that will live on when this world is no more.
We should not be surprised that our Lord taught His first Disciples (by word and deed) to be intentional in their witnessing. In Luke 9:1-2 as well as Luke 10:1, we find Jesus sending His followers out. Our Lord modeled lifestyle evangelism (John 4:1-29) and so should we. However, He realized that witnessing must be on purpose as well, so He sent them out at designated times to designated places. One reason why we worship each Lord’s Day is because we are commanded to do so (Heb. 10:25). Likewise we are commanded to witness (Acts 1:8). It is Scriptural then, for every church to have a designated day (or evening) for outreach. I was privileged for nine years to be pastor of one of Missouri’s finest churches. They had a Family Life Center that included a bowling alley which was used five nights of the week, taking off for Sunday and Wednesday nights. Upon teaching them that outreach is as much expected in the New Testament as is worship, they eliminated one of the bowling nights so the church could focus on reaching out to the community one night each week with intentional witnessing. It was no wonder that the Lord blessed that church with several hundred baptisms during those years. God’s favor always follows obedience doesn’t it!?
Don’t make the mistake however, of reducing intentionality in witnessing to just that one night. We will not see Missouri come to Christ solely by every church having an outreach night. We should wake up each day with the prayer on our lips that the Lord would put someone needing Christ into our path that day. We are to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks a reason of the hope that is within us” (I Pet. 3:15). Imagine the impact of thousands of Missouri Baptists going into each day with the prayerful purpose of sharing Christ!
Living a no-regret life reminds me of my late wife Joyce. When the doctor came to tell us she had incurable cancer, she turned to tell me she was ready to go. She reflected on our marriage, commented on our children, mentioned some churches we had served, indicated she had lived a full life and was ready to go. The day of her wake saw over 1,000 people coming to say their final goodbyes. One of them was a mother who brought me a long stem yellow rose. Through tears she related that Joyce had led her and her daughter to faith in Christ and wanted me to know that she was eternally grateful!
No one is ready to live until they are ready to die. We are not living fully until our life is laying up treasure in Heaven (Matt. 6:20). Make intentionality in sharing Christ a part of your daily agenda. Yours will be a no-regret life for sure!
by GARY TAYLOR / MBC Director of Evangelism