Mr. Martin, my neighbor, came home totally downcast sometime last week. He just found out that his heart is in serious jeopardy, or so his doctor told him. And then this, the grim forecast: His doctor told him he is going to die in a couple of years.
“They told you that? Nobody knows the number of our days except God!” I said. I was devastated myself. I don’t know what to say to a totally desperate soul. What words will somehow soothe his sorrow. Is he ready to buy my Christian beliefs that death is a promotion of some sort? Nah, it’s not going to work, I thought. Mr. Martin is stubborn as a mule. He doesn’t think God is interested in people’s business. He asked me one time if my God does pay the bills.
But Mr. Martin is a good person, a good neighbor and a fairly reasonable guy. In fact, he does the right thing all the time; is patriotic and loves his country. He calls himself a Christian, a nominal Christian, that is; although he doesn’t read the Bible, and is totally ignorant of the essential doctrines of the Judeo Christian faith.
He doesn’t like to fellowship with people in the Church. “The Christian church is full of hypocrites,” he told me.
“True. Actually, the Christian Church is full of sinners. Everyone in the church, including the pastor, is a sinner, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23).” Any devoted Christian will admit that he is a sinner. The others who turn out to be self-righteous are the hypocrites. Yes, they are hypocrites,” I said.
“But do come with me to the Church. You have to know Jesus. He can make you whole again. It’s a perfect time to talk about God and his gift of salvation right now. You just have to let go and let God,” I asked Mr. Martin.
“What for? Why do I have to be in a Church sanctuary among sinners and hypocrites,” he thundered back defiantly. “Because it is where the word of God is proclaimed with power. It is where our faith grows. Remember, the Bible says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Also, it is one of the places where the Lord always meets us, because “when two or more is gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them.”
“Let’s talk about it later, I am tired right now,” Mr. Martin excused himself.
What happened to Mr. Martin is he is depriving himself from the benefits that he can get by being a member of the corporate body of Christ. Christians and non-Christians have equal share of difficulties, tribulations and hardships. In this life, the unpleasant things are inevitable, the Bible tells us. But while non-Christians become miserable during tribulations, Christians deal with suffering as no big deal; to them it is a prelude to some glorious tomorrow.