I sat on the couch just around the corner as Rose opened the door for the food delivery man and strained to hear what I thought might be coming. She’s the 80-something year old friend of my grandparents, and I’d gone to visit her with my baby. I have always been impressed with this sparkly Italian woman, but that day she impressed me even more.
“Yes ma’am, I do.”
Wow, respectful kid. I like him.
“Because it’s not just about believing, you know. It’s a relationship.”
For several minutes a conversation ensued with this man who seemed slightly curious about what she meant. I bit back a smile and listened, knowing I’d never have the courage to talk this frankly to anyone. I mean, not everyone appreciates such directness. Often people are offended by it, especially coming from a stranger. In my immature faith, I shy away from stating things so plainly and openly, afraid of what people will think.
With a sweet chuckle, Rose hugged her new friend and shut the door. “Well, he certainly got a few words from me!”
Yes, he did. A few wonderful words.
“You know, Joanna, I never used to speak my mind. I didn’t have the courage to tell people about what was important to me. But now I’m 87 years old, and I haven’t got much time left on earth. So I don’t care what people think of me anymore!”
The person who led her to Christ, however, never cared what a single person thought of him. This is the part I love—the love story. In the 1940s, when Andy picked up Rose for their first date (before she was a Christian), he had the audacity to take her to a Youth for Christ rally! He then demonstrated Christ to her for over 65 years of marriage. In his career as an optometrist, Andy held the same standards. His eye chart consisted of Scripture and his conversation with patients was full of the Lord. While it would be hard to get away with such practices now, I doubt that would have stopped Andy. Then, when his life was near its end, he sat in a nursing home, barely able to speak, and prayed aloud for the workers who served him. Many even came to his room to ask for prayer. I watched it happen—it was obvious they cherished the guy.
Rose’s words resonated in my heart for weeks after our visit. “I haven’t got much time left on earth, so I don’t care what people think of me anymore.” But you know what? Most of us could say the same. We spend—what, 80 or so years on this earth, and it all passes in a blink before we are faced with eternity. Is that little snippet of time actually that long? Is it long enough that we must tiptoe around to protect our image, shy away from sharing with other people the greatest thing in our lives? We are cheating ourselves—and them.
Yes, it’s intimidating to share a message that seems backwards to this climb-the-ladder, me-first, I-have-rights world, but what’s the real risk? Scripture says our lives here are like dust in the wind. A vapor. And in that short time we can make certain that NO ONE dislikes us (come on—is that really possible anyway?) or we can get the gift of salvation into as many hands and hearts as possible.
And for the brief time you’re a part of this earth, please please—stop valuing what people think of you. Instead, value those people enough to share Christ with them.