I once heard a preacher say, "The thought of dying brings extraordinary focus and clarity to one's life. If you've ever spoken to a person who knew he had only a short time to live, it's amazing how different that conversation is. They don't want to talk about sports, the latest movie or fashion trend, or what's going on in the news. They just want to talk about what's most important."
Are we as God's people equipped for those kinds of conversations? Most people rarely think about death, but at certain times--at the funeral of a loved one, when they've had a bad report or just a "scare" from their doctor, when a catastrophe like 9/11 occurs--people are suddenly given that gift of clarity I talked about in the preceding paragraph. They need someone they can trust, who can walk them through the most important questions of life: How can I make up for the mistakes I've made up to this point? What lies ahead after this life is through? How do I make sure I'm headed for heaven?
In our current sermon series, we've looked at different encounters Jesus had with particular unbelievers. We've talked about getting out of our Christian "bubble" and developing relationships with these same kinds of people, about maximizing every day we're given to live in a world that needs Christ's love, and how to lead someone across the finish line of faith. Sunday, in the last message of this series, we'll look at Jesus' final encounter with an unbeliever, a man who was only hours from death himself. It's found in Luke 23:39-43. Afterwards, we'll celebrate the Lord's Supper together.