“I have a friend in our fellowship group who loves to go door-to-door presenting the gospel,” Stan commented one morning while we waiting for Ricky to bring breakfast.”
“With complete strangers?” I asked.
“Yeah, I think so,” Stan replied. “Maybe sometimes he knows the person who opens the door, but probably not.”
“Sounds scary to me,” I replied.
“I suppose it could be,” Stan said, “but my friend just loves it.”
“He ever talk about the kind of response he gets?” I asked.
“He does,” Stan said. “It runs the gamut from getting the door slammed in his face to people accepting God’s provision and having their life and eternal destination changed, with all sorts of responses in between.”
“Do you know what’s the most common response he gets?” I asked.
“I asked him that same question just the other day,” Stan replied, “and he said that most people who are willing to talk with him end of saying something like, ‘Let me think about it’ or ‘Why don’t you come back another time?’”
“Putting off the most important decision a person can ever make,” I commented.
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “I did that for way too long, but finally made the decision. A lot of people put the decision off and never make it, just like Felix.”
“Felix?” I said. “Who’s Felix?”
“Somebody the apostle Paul talked to as recorded in the Book of Acts,” Stan replied.
“Not sure I know about him,” I said.
“Quick recap,” Stan replied. “As you may or may not know, back when the apostle Paul was going around seeking to spread the truth of Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross, some of the Jewish leaders just wouldn’t leave Paul alone. They were constantly hounding him, and they wanted the Romans to get rid of him.”
“At one point,’ he continued, “Paul was in Caesarea to stand trial before a procurator by the name of Felix. The Jews presented their case against Paul and Paul responded with his defense, but Felix didn’t make a decision other than to keep Paul in loose custody.”
“Didn’t let him go and didn’t lock him up,” I commented, “is that it?”
“Seems that way,” Stan responded. “Also, from time to time, Felix would summon Paul to hear Paul talk about his faith in Jesus At one point Felix told Paul something that people have been saying since then.”
“In essence,” Stan replied, “Felix told Paul to leave and come back later when he found time to hear more from him. Very similar to what I used to say to God.”
“For way too long,” Stan said, “I told God to go away until I found time for Him. What a fool I was!”
“Thankfully,” he continued, “God didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. He drew me to Him and told me that I have the same amount of time as everyone else, twenty-four hours each day, and that it was time for me to decide about Him.”
“And you did,” I replied, “and had your eternal destination changed forever.”
“That’s right,” he replied, “and for each day God leaves me on this side of eternity, He expects me to use the time he gives me to draw ever closer to him in a deepening personal relationship. He doesn’t want me to say anything like, ‘I’m kind of busy right now, how about if you come back later?’”
Bible verses to consider:
And as he (Paul) was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.” Acts of the Apostles 24:25.
He said to them, “But who do you say I am?” Matthew 16:15.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. Titus 2:11-13.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8.
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of life eternally with you when my time here is finished, along with the eternal life of knowing you and Jesus while you keep me on this side of eternity. Thank you, too, for those who bought me to the truth so I could accept your provision and stop telling you to come back later. Thank you for not taking ‘no’ for an answer and for drawing me to you so I could choose to draw near to you. I confess that too often I do not make the effort to want to know you as deeply and as well as you have available. Please forgive that foolishness. And please help me in following every step of your lead in knowing you and Jesus just as you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you stopped telling God that you will make a decision about Him “later”? If you are still waiting to make the most important decision you will ever make, why is that? What’s standing in the way of accepting God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him? If you have made that decision and have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with choosing to draw ever-closer to Him in a deepening personal relationship while you are still here? If you sense the need to stop telling God to “come back later,” how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?