There will be an earthquake on Thursday at 5:30pm. At peak hour traffic the six-magnitude quake will test the city’s infrastructure, shaking the swampy foundations of Invermay, bringing Launceston’s few storied buildings to their knees, compromising the structural integrity of bridges spanning the Esk Rivers and rattling windows from Youngtown to Rocherlea.
Before you write me off as some kind of freak doomsday prophet, consider the hypothetical (yes, it’s just a hypothetical!). Imagine you were given a memo with the potential to save thousands of lives while simultaneously subjecting yourself to ridicule. Imagine you were the only person who knew that an earthquake would ravage Launceston this Thursday.
The question is, would you open your mouth?
Your mind is racing with what-ifs. If your information is wrong you stand to forever scar your reputation not to mention inconvenience a city-full of people, many of them family and friends.
But if you’re right, you will save lives.
As a resident of this fair city I sincerely hope that you wouldn’t keep that kind of information to yourself. I hope you would go and rat-a-tat-tat on the mayor’s door and put your case forward, however tenuous, if that was your conviction.
This is the scenario for Bible believers. What we believe will either see us enter heaven when this life draws to a close, or make us look a bit silly.
Romans 10:10-11 says, “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.’” (English Standard Version)
I believe this stuff. I believe it with all my heart. Wouldn’t I be doing you an incredible disservice if I didn’t share this life-saving information with you?
Here’s some more from Romans (verses 14-15), “But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them; and before someone can go and tell them, that person must be sent.” (New Century Version)
Do you see the urgency of the situation? We don’t know how long we have. I might be diagnosed with a brain tumor tomorrow that starts a fast-tracked countdown. I might die this very day. Or Jesus may return before my death.
Whatever happens, my eternity is sealed, I have a hope and a future. And you can call me silly, call me a Jesus freak and criticize me for preaching at you – “keep your religion to yourself!” – but my convictions run so deep that I would be a coward and the epitome of selfishness if I didn’t share this with you. Because I’d love to see you in heaven.
There’s not going to be an earthquake on Thursday at 5:30pm – not to my knowledge anyway. But Jesus will come again and those who believe and have repented will be saved.
As printed in The Examiner newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday August 12, 2013.