Title: The Watchman Who Watched His Friend Die
We were playing tennis, as we did many days during summer vacation. My best friend since elementary school, Steve, and I kept playing even when the storm clouds blew in. Within just minutes, the darkness and quietness became alarming, and as we both started to head off the court to start our quick, wet, run home, hail began and quickly grew to sizes that pummeled us both to the ground. As I lifted my head to see where Steve was - everything faded to black and I was floating upwards - alone.
I thought, I know what this is! I am going to meet God now, but the anticipated joy of that meeting was overcome by the worst feeling of dread I ever experienced. I realized I wouldn’t be with my best friend again, because during the countless summer days, sleep-over nights, movies, games and endless moments of experiencing life together, there was never that “right” moment to share the most precious treasure in life (Matthew 13:45-46) with my friend.
When I awoke from the dream, the relief was the greatest I have ever experienced. However, unless I acted, the nightmare would expand beyond Steve to include many friends, loved ones, and others God put in my sphere of sowing, and would become reality.
Observing both effective evangelism, and more commonly and prominently, egregious evangelism, preparation for the former involved studying the applicable approaches to knowledge and the respective fields of view (i.e., science, theology, history, philosophy, etc.). I was struck by our situation of having these different fields of view act cooperatively, like the cameras of a night watchman, to provide a comprehensive view of the “house” of the Universe. I was also struck that my analogy of a watchman, who sees something terrible or wonderful, and has the responsibility to act if he cares for those he watches out for, wasn’t a new idea, God had it in print around 2600 years earlier. Ezekiel 3: 17-19:
I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[a] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
What God further expects from a watchman is given in chapter 33, how can a Christian, who “sees” the oncoming truck of reality bearing down on someone not standing on a safe path, not act? Or on the positive side, it’s like having the ability to go back in time and encourage anyone who will listen, to buy Apple stock before the meteoric payoff.
Bottom-line: as one with a relationship with God, you know something with the potential to have the greatest quantity and deepest quality of impact on our neighbors, who we are told to love as ourselves. Evangelism is not an option.
Many people around us are hooked, liked high-schoolers on iPhones, to the views that their emotions, and science, and culture provides in life, and turn off the theology camera. This creates a blind spot, and it will be from that un-illuminated area of the house where disastrous consequences gain entrance, and make my nightmare become the actual future of negligent watchman.