"I'm Not Ready"
“I’m Not Ready” – Brother Doss and I sat in the living room, the floor sagging on the rotten beams below. He urged the old coal miner to turn to the Lord, but the man said that he was just not ready. As we stood to leave the old man added that he would come to church soon. This must have been my third or fourth week to go on visitation with Brother Doss. I asked him if I could join him so that I could learn what seemed to be a dying trade, “the caring for souls.”
I had already learned a great deal, such as that it was better to listen than to talk (something I’m still working on), and if you ask an older person how they are doing, you better have the time to hear the answer. I also came to understand that if you speak to a broken heart, you’ll always find a listening ear. But on this day, I was to meet the prophet!
Brother Doss turned to look the old miner square in the face and said, “You will indeed come to church, but it will be with the help of six men. And after I’ve read a few words over you, they’ll take you back out to plant you in the lot across the street.”
“Aw, don’t say that Pastor! I’ll be in church—you’ll see,” exclaimed the old miner, his voice trailing off in the end.
Brother Doss didn't say another word till we were in the car. Softy, with love-mingled sorrow, he said, “We’ll see.” Not even a year had passed before the man did come church, his body in the box where it lies to this day. But what of the soul? The plea of our visit was not for the man to simply attend a service, but for him to attend to his responsibility before God.
I’ve heard many people since then say the same words, “I’m just not ready.” But the appeal of the Gospel is urgent. The Apostles tirelessly proclaimed what Jesus had done for them. They lived daily in the knowledge that His return is imminent. They knew that no man knows how long God has allotted him on earth, and that “Now is the day of salvation.”
The irony of a statement like “I’m not ready” is that its speaker is often more correct than he even realizes. One who doesn’t know Jesus is indeed not ready to stand before God. Jesus’ death was in vain if there is no separation between God and man. But He came and died because without His shed blood, no man is acceptable, being lost in sin. Through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus bridged the gap. In Christ, there is reconciliation with God.
2,000 years after its first proclamations, the Gospel is still relevant and perhaps, even more urgent. The Lord will not tarry forever, nor do men have unlimited opportunities to choose to follow Him. Each generation of mankind faces an eternal judgment that God in His great love has provided an escape from. This generation is no exception. God is still faithful to His promise of reconciliation to all who will come to Him through faith in Christ. “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken into.” (Matthew 2443).