Brian (my oldest) and Tyler are seniors. Tyler works at Sonic and the only time I see him these days is when I go for a half-price milkshake, but there was a time when he was a big part of my life. Tyler and Brian played little league baseball together when they were boys. Tyler lives with his grandfather just down the street from us, so many times the boys would ride to and from baseball together. After baseball, they’d climb trees and race bikes and do whatever little boys do on Saturday afternoons. In Brian’s words, they were “tight.”
Now, Brian had a system when he was little. When he realized that one of his friends didn’t know Jesus, he’d invite him to spend the night on Saturday so they could go to church with us on Sunday. He’d just keep inviting him to spend the night until we had opportunity to talk to them about Jesus. This was easy with Tyler because he usually came home with us after baseball anyway. Eventually, we’d pick Tyler up for church when he didn’t spend the night and, when my kids decided it was cool to ride the church bus, the bus picked Tyler up too. His mom was deployed back then, so when Tyler got saved, we waited until she could get leave to come home for him to be baptized. It’s amazing to me how things worked out… all because our boys just “happened” to be on the same little league team. When the boys hit junior high, Tyler went one way and Brian another, but Tyler is one of several boys that hold a special place in my heart because my son had something to do with them coming to know Christ.
So often we think that the mission field is somewhere far away and that “mission work” is a week in that far away place. This is one instance where our family worked together to carry out “mission work” as we went through our normal routine of baseball, play dates, and church. May I challenge you to look for opportunities to do the same?
Jesus takes sharing the Gospel seriously:
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
On August 25, 2016, at 2:30 in the afternoon, Tyler was killed in a car wreck.
He was 17. Killed before he finished the first month of his senior year of high school, just driving home from school (too fast and without a seat belt) on a sunny Thursday afternoon.
As heartbroken as I am for Tyler’s family, friends and classmates, I am thankful. In the midst of my own grief, I am thankful beyond measure. I am thankful for the promise of heaven that soothes grieving hearts. I am thankful that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV). I am thankful that Tyler was on our baseball team all those years ago so that we could share the love of Christ with him. Most importantly, I’m so very, very thankful that we did.
There’s no way to know if that kid on your child’s little league team was put in your life so that YOU would share Christ with him. No way to know if that co-worker, classmate, or neighbor is there for you to share Christ with. If we truly believe in heaven and hell, how can we not share our faith in Christ with the people God has placed in our lives? In the end, the only hope we have is that we know Christ as Lord. Sharing Christ is the absolute most important thing we can do as Christians.
Where is YOUR mission field?
Who has God placed in your life who needs Jesus?