Friday, June 30, 2006the faithful warnings of faithful souls...
A have a story for you. It's about Joe Bob and his best friend Ned. These two friends grew up together and have literally gone through life together. Both men were alike in every possible way except for one thing: at the age of 12, Ned took up smoking, while Joe Bob refused to touch the foul stuff.
In their youth, Joe Bob would often chide Ned about his smoking:
"Ned," Joe Bob would say, "you still on those cancer sticks buddy?"
"Pfff!!!" Ned would answer, "real men can handle a little smoke!"
Over the time, Ned's smoking increased, and Joe Bob's chiding gave way to genuine and earnest concern:
"Ned," Joe Bob would say, "don't you think it's time you put that stuff away man, you know it'll kill you one day."
"Bah!" Ned would answer, "there are so many things that can happen to a man in this life, a few cigarettes here and there aren't going to make any difference."
At the age of 40, Ned was smoking more than one pack of cigarettes a day. Joe Bob, the FAITHFUL friend, would plead:
"Ned! don't tempt fate man! Smoking all those cigarettes are going to bring you to an early grave."
"Ha!" Ned would answer, "you've been singing me the same story for years now and look at me! I'm still tougher than you!"
When Ned turned 48, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died a few months after of his 49th birthday. Ned spent his last year in the hospital, suffering greatly. Joe Bob never gave Ned an "I-told-you-so", he didn't have to. Ned knew all too well that his own prideful foolishness had brought him down, and at that point, nothing could be done to remedy the situation. In his private moments though, Ned would often remember the numerous warnings he got from his good friend Joe Bob, and cursed every stupid response he gave back.
Moral of the story: don't neglect the sound advice of faithful friends.
Tomorrow, July 1st, is Canada Day in my country. They will be shutting down the downtown core of my city for all sorts of festivities and celebrations. Lord willing, I will be there with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
All day my pastor, myself and my wife will be doing everything we can to bring the Gospel to our fellow Canadians. We will use Bible tracts, Gospel signs and my pastor and I will be doing plenty of open air preaching. It'll be 3-4 of us, and tens of thousands of unbelieving revelers. Many will give us a hard time, many will mock us to scorn. The consensus will be that we are way too dense and somber.
You see, like Joe Bob in our story, kind concern and compassion moves us to preach. All the mockery and rejection, like Ned's, are irrelevant. Ned needed to hear the warnings, as does the lost in my city. My hope is that, unlike Ned, many in my city will repent of their wickedness and come to the knowledge of the Truth. My fear though, is that the cancer of sin in my country may already be quite incurable.
Nevertheless, we will go. We will be brave. We will be sober-minded. And above all else, we will be FAITHFUL.
Mark 16:15 ; 2 Timothy 4:2