I have never feared going to a dentist because at one time I went so regularly that most of the work he had to do on me was relatively painless maintenance. So I went through a period of time where I felt it was no big deal to delay a dentist appointment. And then it became a habit. I put off making further appointments. “I have better things to do with my time and money,” I thought—until my first abscessed tooth began to announce its presence. I couldn’t get to his office fast enough. I didn’t even feel the drill cutting away at the tooth because of other sensations that were far more demanding. Afterwards, he pointed out the fact that I hadn’t been to see him for some time and that this emergency might have been avoided. “I know what you are trying to say,” I offered sheepishly. “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later!”
But that is true in almost everything, isn’t it! I have often thought how that works in my relationship with God. I am frequently in the position my dentist was in, of having to perform emergency procedures because of the inevitable pain in someone’s life caused by neglect. In some cases, it is the neglect of never having established a relationship with the One who matters most in life. With others it is the inevitable pain caused when regular maintenance of that relationship is neglected. “I have more important things to do” we begin to think. But ultimately we invite the worst pain of life when we think like that. Eventually, the neglect of one’s relationship with God is 100% certain to cause pain, either in this life or in the next. So I have no reason to apologize for my recruiting efforts.
When we pause at this season to think again about that One who went to a brutal death on a cross in Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago, it seems that this whole discussion takes on new meaning. When “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” it was as if God was saying “I have no intention of letting you pay me later. The cost of losing your own soul is too great.” So in Jesus Christ the loving Father calls us to begin, or to continue, a walk with him; a walk made possible through the sacrificial birth and death of His Son. Don’t ever lose that perspective on life!
Senior Pastor of Cactus Christian Fellowship