When my brother, Jimmy was in his mid-40’s he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 2 years to live. As a Christian, his diagnosis led him to a great curiosity about what death and heaven would be like. I was curious too. I started reading books and other accounts of people who had near death experiences and the things they said that they saw in those moments.
Fast forward to a few months later, I was working out at the gym and a very nice man came over and started talking to me. He shared with me that he had recently had a heart attack and died and the paramedics did CPR and brought him back. I excitedly asked, “You died?!? Did you see anything?!?” To which he quickly replied, “Yes I did. And I don’t want to talk about it. But, I go to church now.” I was speechless.
According to a recent statistic, approximately 183,761 people die each day in the United States. That’s about 128 deaths per minute.
According to the 2020 Census, 64% of the US population is Christian. That means that 36% are not. Using those statistics, we can surmise that 46 of those 128 people that die each minute don’t go to heaven.
Think about it. It will take you about 3 minutes to read this blog. During that time 138 people in the United States will die and go to hell. Harsh? Yes. Could my numbers be wrong? Absolutely. I admit I’m not great at math. But even so, would ANY number be better? Lost people are dying all around us. What are we doing about it?
Evangelist William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was once asked what one thing he thought would motivate Christians to really have a heart for reaching the lost. His answer? He would like to send every Christian to hell for 5 minutes.
5 minutes in hell!
Can you imagine? No thank you! But what if? I think if you or I spent five minutes in hell we would come running out full speed ahead with the same mission as Jesus- to seek and save those who are lost! And we wouldn’t do so with casual indifference. We would pursue the lost with a passionate, urgent desperation as if someone had lit a fire under our feet! Quite literally.
It’s like the story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31. Both men died. Lazarus went to heaven and the rich man went to hell. There he cried out to Abraham and said,
“‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Luke 16:27-28
He was desperate. Desperate to reach his lost loved ones. Desperate to prevent them from going to hell.
Unfortunately, we just don’t feel that desperation. Sure we want to reach the lost but the truth is, most of us are pretty apathetic about it. That has to change. And it starts with prayer.
- – Pray for the lost both in general and specifically by name.
- – Pray for the opportunity to share your faith.
- – Pray that God will give you the words and the courage to be His mouthpiece.
- – Pray that God will open their ears, soften their hearts and draw them to Him.
- – Pray consistently and start right now.