I’ve known my buddy since college. He’s a smart guy, pretty reserved, down to earth, and a good friend. In the years I’ve known him, we’ve talked about God maybe two or three times. He knows I’m a Christian, that I love Jesus and I’m involved in my Church, but to be honest, I don’t think he cares. “To each his own.” “Whatever makes you happy.” “There’s so much out there, how can anyone really know?” He’s a thinker, but not antagonistic, and ultimately, when it comes to God or religion, he’s pretty apathetic. It wasn’t until recently I realized that how I felt toward his salvation was exactly that: pretty apathetic.
When Jesus was traveling amongst the cities and villages in Matthew, preaching the Gospel and healing the sick, “he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36). When Paul writes, he shows no reserve for the love he has for his brethren. He says to the Galatians, “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Gal. 4:19). He writes to the Thessalonians, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” (1 Thess. 2:8). His letters are filled with passion, affection, devotion, and tears.
When I pray for my friend, I not only pray for his conviction, for God’s grace, and for the Spirit to move in his life, I ask for the same fervor Jesus and Paul had for those who don’t know the Gospel. I pray that the “By Name” initiative would not become just an exercise, another item to check off the to-do list, but that God would spiritually charge me over the disbelief of others only to celebrate and praise Him that much more when He intervenes in their lives. I pray that I would no longer be apathetic toward my friend’s salvation, that a passion would stir in me the boldness to speak truth and to seize all opportunities to unashamedly share the Gospel with him.
“…in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:7-8