A Day in Ministry
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10 (NIV)
I was preparing to leave church late one Friday afternoon, when I was impressed of the Lord to go visit a man at a local hospital. I had received a call from his sister a few days earlier, asking me to go visit him. She said that he had led a hard life and that she did not know if he was saved. I called all the hospitals in town and to my surprise, none of them had his name on their patient roster. I felt that I was to continue to search until I found this man. I called my wife and told her that I would be home when my mission was complete.
I drove to three local hospitals after checking with their information operators. On my second stop, the information desk attendant said the man was in their hospital but she did not know which room. I began to pray for God’s help because I felt that this man needed spiritual help right away. After a second search of the database, I was told that the man could not be found. I then drove to the third hospital, a hospice facility.
After an exhaustive search of their database and a talk with the nurses, I discovered that he was there. I took the elevator to the fourth floor. As I exited the elevator, I heard a loud screaming noise coming from the end of the hallway. I thought to myself, “I hope this is not the person I am going to see.” Well, as I walked towards the end of the hallway, I discovered that he was indeed the subject of my visit. A glass door seemed to hinder me from entering his room.
I walked to the door of the darkened room and was aghast at the image that lay before me. I stood momentarily looking at him while his shrieks of pain echoed in my brain. Liver cancer had given him a light tan complexion and he resembled a bag of human bones. Just then a nurse startled me by tapping me on the shoulder from behind. She told me that no one had been to visit him and that she was glad I had come to see him. As I turned back towards him, the glass door was no longer there, neither was the nurse!
I slowly walked into the room and talked with the man between screams. God led me to walk around his bed and pray in tongues for the next 45 minutes. During that time, I put my hands on him and asked if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart. Between the screams, he motioned that he would. I then prayed the sinner’s prayer with him. By now, he was in such pain that I asked him to move his leg if he understood the prayer and wanted Jesus. He did.
Shortly afterwards, I felt released to leave the hospital. As I walked towards the elevator, the screaming got lower. All types of questions flooded my mind: Did he understand what I prayed? Was his leg movement an affirmation or a reflex? Was he ready to meet Jesus? Through all of the self-inquiry, there was one thing of which I was sure…the fact that God sent me to see him.
I got home late and went to bed. The echoes of his screams continued to play in my head until I fell asleep. At 6:00AM, my phone rang. It was the man’s sister informing me that he had died at 3:00AM. She was comforted by and appreciated the story of what had transpired a few hours before he died.
As agents of God’s love, the time will come for each of us to lead someone to Christ. It may not be in a hospice with someone on the brink of death. You might just be talking with someone at the water cooler in the office or a friend across the fence. This man did not plan to be in the hospice yet God planned for me to visit him there. How about you? Are you taking advantage of all of the relational opportunities that God gives you to move your friends closer to knowing the Savior?
Why is He giving you those opportunities? Because, through you ‘…the Son of man came to seek and to save what was lost.’ Be encouraged!