By H. Osby Weaver
While preaching in Hawaii during the war years, one of our members invited a fellow-worker to our services and received a tongue lashing for his efforts, a part of which was that all churches were frauds and were interested in nothing more than to get your money. Later, after thinking more about it, he decided to attend on his own and see for himself.
The lesson of the hour was about what one would expect to hear at any of our services. At the conclusion, the man came around and told me that he was interested in what he had heard and would like to talk to me about it further. This we did until about midnight at which point he said, “You know, I believe that, and I want to be baptized one of these days.” My response was “Why not now?” He informed me that he worked on the night shift at Pearl Harbor and would not have time to catch the bus and get to work on time. I told him that I would take him to work in my car. He said, “Well, no need to get in a hurry about it. I’ll have plenty of time, and I will do it one of these days.” I asked, “Do you mean that you want to serve the devil a while longer?”
He replied, “No, that is not my attitude at all.” I then asked him that if he never had another opportunity to obey the Lord, what would he say to him in the day of judgment? He dropped his head momentarily in sober reflection, then looking me in the eye, he said, “I just don’t know what I would say, let’s do it now!” I took him down into the water and baptized him for the remission of his sins shortly after midnight.
The following Thursday, he became violently ill on the job, was rushed to the hospital where emergency surgery was performed, and it was learned that even though he had no pain before, he was eaten up with cancer. He died in less than thirty days.
He was never permitted to attend but one gospel service in all of his life. If he had left me that night without obeying the Lord, he would have died lost. I have always been grateful that “knowing the terror of the Lord” that I persuaded him to obey.
Now let me tell you about another gentleman with whom I talked about obeying the Lord. He was my barber when I live in a north central Texas town. In talking to him about his need to become a Christian while he cut my hair, he responded with, “My wife, you know, is a member of the church of Christ.” I knew that and told him that he ought to be. He chuckled a little and informed me that he planned to be sometime in the future. I told him that he was not getting any younger. He readily agreed to that, but said he had a little living to do yet and felt that he had plenty of time yet. My reply was, “Time may be running out on you.” He said, “Oh, I don’t think it will.” I didn’t either at that time, but was merely calling his attention to the possibility.
I left town for several days and upon my return I went to the barber shop. The barber was not there, and I noticed that his name had been removed form the minor. Thinking that he perhaps had gone to work in another shop in town, I asked, “Where is my barber?” The others said, “He is dead.” While standing at his chair, he had a massive heart attack and died on the way to the hospital.
Time ran out on him sooner than either he or I thought it would. He departed this life knowing what he should do to obey the Lord and knowing that he really ought to do it. But he didn’t!
Now which of the two had you rather be? Each rational being holds his destiny within his own hands. These two were alike in that they both lived, and they both died, and at one point, they were alike in that neither had obeyed the gospel of Christ. There, however, the likeness ends. Which had you rather be?
You may say, “I don’t believe that I will become like either of them.” You just did!
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 22, p. 13
November 21, 1996