Prior to my going to Bible school to pursue a call to the ministry, I was (and still am) a pharmacist. I graduated pharmacy school from North Dakota State University in 2002, did a 3-year tour as a pharmacist in the Navy, then moved back closer to home in the Midwest where I worked in an outpatient clinic pharmacy. Even before my time in the military, but definitely during and after, I felt a strong tug from the Lord to follow a new path. That involved studying to be a worship pastor; a position I now serve in at a local church. And for this opportunity I have gratitude to the Lord. He has provided in ways I would never have imagined. It’s been quite a journey and I’m still walking out this call; my wife and family by my side. Perhaps the whole story is something I will share at a different time. But I say all of that to set up some context for this blog post.
Being I still work part-time as a pharmacist, I needed to recently complete a course in Basic Life Support (BLS or CPR) for healthcare providers. I had gone through the training several years ago in the Navy but had let my certification lapse and wasn’t valid any longer. With technology much more advanced than 15 years ago, I was able to complete an online certification piece and then do a skills assessment with a CPR mannequin (you’ve probably seen the “resuscitation Annie” dummy’s before).
I was impressed because the course really prepares you for an event that could potentially happen; whether an adult or a child is unresponsive and in need of immediate attention. And the course itself wasn’t exhaustingly long and had great content. Side note: I’d highly recommend getting trained as it is such a valuable skill to have.
However, I got to thinking after taking the course…”was there ever a time I’d been anywhere in my life where a person had coded (i.e. had a cardiac event…heart attack or cardiac arrest)?” I really couldn’t think of a single time where I’d worked in an outpatient setting or had been in a church or even in a public place or event (sports game, concert, etc) where this had ever happened. But now I have much more confidence because if something did happen, maybe even to a loved one, I could act quickly and use the training and knowledge I possess.
Of course I couldn’t think about all of this without drawing some spiritual applications. You see, if we are in Christ we then possess information (“training” if you will) that prepares us to help others who are dying around us. Not necessarily dying a physical death, but certainly destined to die a spiritual one if no intervention is made in their life. And a spiritual death is what separates us from God.
I began to think about my CPR training and the fact that even if someone were brought back to life, they would still eventually die at some point. And even if someone coded multiple times and was resuscitated multiple times, they would still eventually die. Death comes to us all. Sorry for the morbid thought. But CPR cannot save your soul. Only Christ can do that.
So in that moment when someone needs to hear about Christ, would you be ready?
The Bible has a great verse about readiness and it’s really the focal point of this whole post:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15
What Peter is calling us to is really a commandment. There’s no “hey, maybe be ready” or “you might want to consider doing this”. No! It says “always be prepared to give an answer” and with that, there is a weight and responsibility to ALL of us who are in Christ. We stand ready to share about the love and mercy of Jesus, His death, His resurrection, and His saving power for our souls.
There are several methods out there in terms of sharing Christ with an unbeliever. The “Roman Road” is one of them. There are also tracts. A simple internet search can lead you to many options that can help you share the Gospel. But in my experience, the most effective way to share Christ is simply to share your story. Your testimony and experience in coming to the Lord is powerful, whether you think so or not. And often that is the truth a non-believer needs to hear.
One last thought: unlike CPR where following the training potentially saves a life, we do not actually “save souls.” Sometimes preachers and evangelists like to boast in numbers of those professing Christ as a result of their ministry. It sounds good and can even make us go “Wow, he or she must really be great at winning the lost to Jesus!” But the truth is, only the Holy Spirit can save someone. We simply plant the seed in a person’s life. Some may accept it, some may reject it. Some of those who reject it may hear it again at a later point in life and accept it. We do not know. But we are simply obedient to share Christ; making disciples as a part of the Great Commission. That’s our calling. Short and sweet.
My urge for you today is to be able to say “yes” to the question “in that moment, will you be ready?” That “moment” is the divine appointment God lays before you. It could be speaking with a co-worker at lunch. It could be talking to a fellow classmate on the playground at school. It could even be a deathbed encounter with a family member. The fact is, we are never really told “when” but simply “be ready.”
I would love to hear from you about your encounters sharing the Gospel. These stories can be such an encouragement because in hearing them we sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron. As always, if you are in need of prayer, I would love to pray for you.
I love you guys! Keep the faith. I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org