When I was growing up I always heard this at home, “There’s two kinds of people in this world!” And then I would hear what the two kinds of people were, and then an explanation, so I could understand the way things are in the world from my parents’ perspective.
Well, it turns out that they were right: there are two kinds of people in the world; there is a great contrast. But it is not any combination of contrasted political/socio-economic/ethnic demographics that can be thought up by the world.
Last week I was visiting an elderly relative with my children. We brought stories, conversation, photos and gifts to share. I gave her a book with lovely photos of picturesque famous locales in San Francisco, since she loves that city so much, being born and raised there more than 90 years ago. As she leafed through the book, I started recalling the fun “field trip” I took the children on a few months ago, to give them more of a taste of this place we call home: the San Francisco area. We took the train up to the end, got on the street car to Embarcadero, walked along the Bay, played at the Justin Herman Plaza fountain, then took the F line to Pier 39, ate fish and chips for lunch, spent some time exploring there, looked at the Golden Gate, then got on the Powell St. cable car and took it all the way down to Market St. Of course I let the kids hang off the thing, holding the side bar. When we got off we walked to Union Square, explored Chinatown and then got on BART and came home. We had a blast.
As I was recounting our field trip, my dear relative looked at me with disgust and disapproval saying, “You didn’t do that thing you do there, did you…..you didn’t give out anything to the people during this, did you?” She stared at me coldly.
I said nothing. I just smiled. I changed the subject, not answering her. (I had promised myself I would not speak of the things of the Lord anymore with her.) The truth is, no, not on this trip. But I have on a lot of other occasions, in San Francisco and everywhere else. Sometimes I’ll have an outing, just for the purpose of reaching out to people with the gospel. If any of the children are with me, it is a training time for them. Sometimes the outing is just for building our family relationships, and memories. That’s what this trip was, although I know that even in recreational family outings, the Lord may give an opportunity with someone, so I should always be ready and willing to share.
After more than 20 years, the Lord has released me from any further gospel witnessing with certain relatives. I am at peace knowing I’ve done what He wanted me to do, in telling them. My work with them is done, but our relationships continue on. It is a painful and sobering thing. I have been told by them that they never want to hear me speak of these things (the gospel, the bible, Jesus)ever again. I want to make sure I do not disobey the Lord’s command in Matthew 7:6.
Here is where the great contrast came into focus with me this weekend. In our assembly, there was visiting a lovely couple who are on furlough from their lifelong work with a tribe of people in the Amazon basin in Brazil. They have so far spent 40 years there, teaching literacy, translating the Bible into their language, writing out and printing the Bible for them, teaching school, teaching Sunday school, operating a medical clinic, discipling and teaching new believers, having worship services, baptizing, celebrating communion, training leaders, building buildings, maintaining the airstrip….. the list goes on.
They showed a power point summary of their ministry and the wife shared some stories of their so far 40 years among this people. Then the husband preached about witnessing and sharing the gospel (preaching the gospel to us at the same time), and he encouraged us to share the gospel. It was like music to my ears, a balm to my soul, to listen to him. He not only preached the gospel, he encouraged us to continue on, in our work here where the Lord has us serving Him. He encouraged us to share the gospel! He was giving glory to Jesus Christ! He was filled with the Holy Spirit! He was filled with the joy and power of the Lord!
This missionary couple is the same exact age, as my parents. The contrast sank in. It’s true after all. There’s two kinds of people in this world: the saved and the lost.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and been baptized (by the Holy Spirit) shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned (damned).” Mark 16:15-16.