Near the end of a pastoral visit to a wonderful Christian lady, she interrupted the flow of our conversation with a concern she was carrying. It was about her brother, also a senior citizen, living nearby. She described her heartache and her stress over his life-long failure to attend church and to profess Christian faith.
She told me the story of his life, somewhat briefly. He and others in the family had had a troubled beginning, and there was some distress and maybe even maltreatment in his early years. Then at some point early in his life, he got into gambling. Gambling had become a lifelong sideline and was still part of his everyday activity. The sister shared this, along with her heartache, over his church-less and evidently Christ-less life.
I felt caught in a dilemma. I was scheduled to be elsewhere in a very short time, while being handed a deep and important spiritual and personal heartache. So I hastened to the bottom line which I deeply believe, and I gave it to this woman almost as I was walking out the door. I said, "You must remember, and you should tell him this in a kind and loving way, that he is safe in the arms of Jesus."
A smile came onto her face and she began to glow. "Oh that is wonderful, that is so wonderful." She went on and on with her joyful reception and excitement over what I had told her. I had given her something worth more than $1 million.
This is not profound theology. We have been singing this all our lives: "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black-and-white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world." And this is her brother! As old as he is, he is still a child of Jesus, and precious in Jesus’ sight.
Unfortunately the man has not been enjoying that, nor has be been motivated by it; and therefore, he has been missing the love Jesus has for him. That is sad, but big sister can still plant and sprinkle some of that wonderful reality into his heart by telling him from time to time, “You know Jesus loves you.” And hopefully one of these years it will mean a lot to him. And it will never end.
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