I just read a t-shirt with a statement about hell on it, and it got me thinking…
It’s Friday, late afternoon, I’m sitting at “The Fly”, an airport cafe in Melbourne.
I’m surrounded by men and women, from all over the world, drinking beer after beer, chatting on their phones, chatting to their friends, starring out the window at the planes coming and going, most seem to be unwinding from a long week of work, some seem excited about their upcoming weekend.
So many different people, so many different destinations, but they all have this one thing in common, eternity is written in their hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
I can see it in their eyes. A young man walks by me smiling, his eyes are the window to his soul, I can see God in him.
To my right a man knocks back another beer, I can see the weight of the world in his eyes. I wonder if he knows the hope of Jesus, I wonder if this week any of his work mates told him?
The girl in front of me is texting, profusely. I’m talking, shooting off a text every few seconds to her many many contacts. I wonder… do any of them reply with messages of hope? Does anyone tell her of the love of Jesus?
I’m not always deeply engaged in the activity of those around me, I don’t always “people watch” like this, but I can’t help myself right now.
My senses are heightened tonight. I’m acutely aware of the hearts of everyone around me. We are linked by our shared humanity and our shared journey towards eternity. I’m enamoured by my neighbours, and I’m plagued by the question, “Do they know Jesus?”
Has anyone told them the hope of Jesus? The beautiful truth of heaven. The awful reality of hell. Has anyone told them of the love of God for them and how He stopped at nothing to show them His love, even to the point of sacrificing His own son!
My thoughts are only heightened by that t-shirt of that girl who recently walked by, it read,
“Don’t worry, you won’t go to hell for who you are.”
She has a point. Though I can’t imagine her shirt was intended to reflect a theological truth as much as it was a slight at Christianity, she is right. You won’t go to hell because of who you are. You won’t go to hell because you’re white, black, male, female, confused, an introvert, or an extrovert, no, none of this will send you to hell.
But you may go to hell because no one ever told you about Jesus, or because when they did, you rejected His grace filled offer of eternal life.
I don’t always understand that theological truth, but I do know it to be true, for Jesus says He is the only way. (John 14:6) (Though, I might add, I’m convinced He says this not because he wants you to go to hell, He declares this truth, and I will gladly too, because He doesn’t want you to go to hell!)
I gaze around the room, and I find myself praising God because of how amazing His love truly is. That He wants us to experience the Kingdom of heaven, now and forever. That Jesus died so that we could live, free and whole, for eternity! His love for humanity is so great. Every single person around me, made in His image, made to reflect His glory. Created so incredibly unique, filled with such amazing possibilities.
And as I sit here, in this cafe, with a new neighbour siding up to me, I begin to wonder again, “Does he know where he is going? Not which airport, but where his eternity will be?
Has anyone told him?”
I think I’ll stop wondering now, and start talking. I brae
I’d encourage you to do the same.
“For how will they know unless they are told?” (Romans 10:14)
This reality, that people need to hear the gospel, drives me daily. I recently cancelled a ministry event in favour of local Grand Final Day parties, for this very reason, because salt and light only makes a difference in places and spaces where they are not yet present. It’s not the hopeful that need a message of hope, but those that don’t yet know the hope of Jesus. It’s not the healthy that need a doctor, it’s the sick. (Mark 2:17) It’s time to shine friends, it’s time to tell your neighbour about Jesus. Across the road, and across the globe. At work, on your street, on Grand Final Day, at work on Monday, even in the cafe you find yourself sitting in. Who can you share Jesus with today?