This article did not come easy. Even as I write it, I wonder if my motivations are pure.
I will soon ask you to pray for me as I share the gospel with someone. But I fear that my motive may come across as boastful, as if I am trying to show you how spiritual I am by this act. I’ve known a few “notch-belt” Christians; I hope I am not one.
Frankly, I know myself too well to even hint that I have attained a good measure of spiritual growth. At age 58, I still have a long way to go.
So, please allow me to share the story that led to this pending encounter.
Thirty Years Ago
The year was 1983. I had left the world of banking and business to go to seminary. I took a secular job to support my family. That is where I met “Jim” (not his real name).
I felt an immediate friendship with Jim. He was straightforward, unpretentious and, beneath a gruff exterior, very kind. He was twelve years older than I; and he took me under his wing in the workplace.
Jim, by his own admission, was not a Christian. He had many questions for me. I did my best to answer them. He allowed me to share the gospel with him freely.
But when I left that job in 1986, Jim still was not a Christian. And I am ashamed to admit that I lost track of him.
Then the phone rang 27 years later.
Back to the Future
Jim discovered that we both lived in Nashville, so he contacted me just a few days ago. His words were as straightforward as always. He wanted to pick up on the gospel conversations we had not finished over a quarter of a century earlier.
We had dinner together. It was if we had seen each other yesterday rather than 27 years ago. And Jim still had a lot of questions about the Bible, Jesus, and his own salvation. We both agreed to continue our conversations in the days and weeks ahead.
Then, on Wednesday of this week, I got another phone call.
It was Jim.
He told me calmly but with deep concern that he had just received tough news. He had been diagnosed with a disease that would take his life in two to three years without treatment. He might make it ten years with aggressive treatment. At age 70, Jim was leaning toward no treatment.
His next words were not unexpected. If I had time, he wanted to meet with me soon.
I can’t believe he even asked if I had time.
Who Is Jim?
Jim is wealthy. He is very intelligent. He is married with no children. He is my friend.
I really love Jim as a friend. God has given me a big heart of love for him.
And he has honest questions. He does not try to win a debate. He just wants answers. And he told me in our last conversation that his major challenge is having sufficient belief. He says he wants to believe; but he has not been able to believe.
The Meeting Tomorrow
We will get together at my home at 1:00 pm tomorrow (Sunday, November 3, 1:00 pm CST). Jim will have a lot of questions.
My heart is breaking for my friend. As I write this article, tears are falling from my eyes. I so much want him to know Jesus, His love, and His peace. My burden is heavy.
I realize that I cannot save Jim; only Christ can. And I realize that this type of article is not what I am supposed to write on the blog. I am supposed to give to you the readers. But in this article, I am asking.
I am asking for your prayers. For me. Far more though, for Jim.
Believe me, I know the power of prayer. And I know how many great prayer warriors there are who visit this blog.
Forgive me for my self-centeredness in this blog, but would you pray for me? Would you pray for Jim?
Please, would you pray for Jim?