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No More Chances
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" The Student "

    Death is always a difficult issue to accept, especially when it is someone that is close to us like family members or childhood friends. It is even more tragic when that someone dies without salvation. A few weeks ago, I received word that a childhood friend of mine had died (for the sake of privacy we will call him Roger). He was thirty-three years old. Such a young age for the candle of his life to be extinguished. We reflect on this with fear and disbelief. More than that, we face the chilling reality that life is precious. While its' span is unpromising, death has a way of reiterating the certainty of our own demise. That as sure as we are born, we will die. Knowing this, it is incumbent upon us to choose Christ while we are living. Unfortunately, Roger died without every electing the peace and promise accompanied with God's salvation. That night, a despairing thought struck me like lightning, tonight is the first night he will spend in Hell. The first night of an eternity separated from God's peace. For Roger, a demise of everlasting damnation engulfs him. Without hope, without relief . . . no more chances. Imagine, being eternally separated from God's grace. In Luke 16: 23-26, Jesus speaks of the void and torment experienced by the rich man, while comparing it to the peace enjoyed by Lazarus.

St Luke 16:
     23. And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
     24. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame
     25. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and though art tormented.
     26. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence."

     This story made me think of the many opportunities for salvation Roger turned down. I liken these opportunities to a restaurant that has a huge street-side window in front. As you peer inside, you see a long banquet table with plenty of beautifully carved high-backed chairs, ornate decorations and flawlessly starched white linen. The chairs are marked reserved with a persons name stenciled on the card denoting their reserved place. A servant is placing entrées, steamed vegetables, buttery breads and deserts of every sort imaginable. By the look of this grand spread, you would think a feast was being prepared for some visiting king, president or diplomat. In short, you get the impression that someone special is expected for dinner. Despite a sign above the window that read "Free to all who are hungry - Come as you are," Roger never chose to enter. We will never know his reason for not entering. Maybe he thought a place like that was "too rich for his blood." If only he would have gone inside, he would have discovered that the restaurant catered to clientele such as he, the hungry. Sure, he often passed and sometimes stopped to look inside, especially when he was hungry. The smell of this succulent feast swelled well past the walls within. Often times, the scent of the banquet could be picked up for blocks. Interestingly, the smell had a drawing effect, as good cooking does, especially to hungry people. He as well as others would find themselves drawn to the window yet never opt to go inside or at least inquire out of curiosity. On many occasions, Roger would see people going inside, despite their invitations to accompany them, he would say no and walk away. Once he passed and saw the servant placing reserved name cards at a chair. As he looked, the servant motioned for him to come inside and held up a reserved name card with Roger's name on it. The servant then mouthed the words "this one is for you Roger, please come inside, its free." As the servant began to leave the table and come toward the door, Roger turned and walked away. It appears that Roger was always preoccupied with matters that at the time, seemed more pressing. Curious but not serious, he walked away from the chance of a lifetime. Could it be that at the point of decision, something distracted Roger, urging him to consider it tomorrow. This is a message for we who are living. There is a banquet being prepared, and we are all invited to attend. The Holy Sprit is mobilizing Christians to go out into the highways and hedges and compel mankind to come in.

Revelation 19:
     9 says "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb."

     Life is too short, and the destiny of our eternity too precious for us to shirk the invitation of salvation. How sad it is for Roger to still be able to see that grand feasting table. Yet a void now exist which denies him access from entering. From his vantage point, gone is the sign that read Free to all who are hungry - Come as you are. It has been replace with a sign that simply reads "Closed." How anguishing the feeling he must be experiencing as he witnesses the servant, who with tears in his eyes, slowly remove Roger's reserved seating card because now he will certainly not to attend. No more chances. If you are reading this story, you still have a chance, choose Christ today.

     Remember for you the sign still reads "Free to all who are hungry - Come as you are."

 Written By

" The Student "

    

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