A Matter Of Life And Death


I was sitting at a table at the library, working on my computer. It was fairly quiet until an elderly woman walked in and sat down right behind me. By my guess, she looked to be in her late 70’s and early 80’s. (note: I heard her say later, that she is indeed, 85)

Now, I am not one to normally eavesdrop on a conversation, but it was difficult to not hear what she was saying. She was loud and the library was quiet…so nearly impossible to not hear every last word. I found myself smiling at how animated she was in her conversation and in how she interacted with other patrons of the library. She was a real hoot.

She was talking to one of the librarians, with whom she appeared to have a friendship. The part of the conversation that caused me to pause, is when I heard her say something to the effect,”I don’t believe in the afterlife. I think this {life} is all there is. Won’t people be surprised when they die and find out in the end Jesus isn’t there?”

I breathed in, and slowly let the air out. My first thought was to turn around and say something to her, but that would have been rude, for me, a complete stranger, to interject myself into their conversation. Plus I didn’t want to admit I was indeed eavesdropping (although she had to be aware everyone in the place could hear her).

She has since gotten up and left the library, but her words linger. I am saddened. When she got up to leave (talking the entire time) I had opportunity to look at her. She looked like (and I’m sure she is) someone’s grandma. At 85 she probably doesn’t have many more years left on this earth. Although she would probably not admit it, she is lost. Blindly, lost. She doesn’t know Jesus beyond a familiar historical character. She seemed educated and intelligent, but completely ignorant of who God is and the amazing grace we are all shown through Jesus Christ, His Son.

Today was an example, a tiny sliver of a reminder that there are those that we see regularly, maybe even every day, that might be good and moral people, but are lost. They don’t know or understand the love of Jesus and what that means for them personally. These individuals will one day take their last breath on this earth and be faced with their eternity. It is then they will be face to face with God and there will be no illusion of who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords…. except, at that point it will be too late. Their life on earth is over, and their eternity is just beginning. An eternity that is to be separate from God, because of the choice they made to turn from Him when they were still alive.

I should have said something. I should have stepped out of my comfort zone, before this woman steps out into eternity. Maybe I could have started a conversation with her, and maybe she would have thought I was nuts….regardless, she couldn’t have said I didn’t care. It would have given her something to think about. Maybe I will get another chance to share the greatest news a dying world could ever hear……because it really is a matter of life and death.

For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12 NLT

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 NIV