A Dutch kid from Kalamazoo grows up well, finds Jesus Christ, moves to Chicago, and enjoys success in his work. Over time he embraces one of his father’s hobbies — sailing.
He’s good with his boat and pulls together a team for racing. One member of his crew, a good friend, doesn’t share Bill’s faith in Christ. Not at all. But it’s OK — they’re sailing together, not attending Sunday school. (Though it sometimes feels like it. Bill often mentions his faith.)
This goes on for many years, and eventually Bill prevails upon his friend to join his family for Easter . . . which involves attending the Easter service at church. His friend drives over, attends the service, eats lunch at Bill’s house, then prepares to leave. It was a great visit, but registered zero on his spiritual “Richter scale.” No interest.
As Bill stands in the front doorway watching his friend walk down the driveway toward his car, he’s thinking, Man, I’m going to be spending eternity in Heaven with Jesus and all the people I love, and my friend will be spending his eternity in Hell. I can’t stand the thought of missing him forever, and I can’t bear the idea of him in eternal agony.
Suddenly, Bill senses the Spirit urging him to go tell his friend exactly what he is thinking. Are You crazy? How weird would that be? But the urge persists. Go tell him. Now, before he drives away.
So Bill steps out of the doorway and starts walking down the driveway. “Hey, wait a minute!”
His friend is standing with the car door open, about to get in. “What is it, Bill? Did I forget something in the house?”
“No, I just wanted you to know what I was thinking just now. I was thinking how I’m going to be spending eternity in Heaven with Jesus Christ and the people I love, and you’ll be spending eternity in Hell. First, I can’t bear the thought of you suffering in Hell, and second, I can’t stand the thought of missing you for all eternity. I want you to be in Heaven with me.”
His friend stares at him. A long awkward moment passed. “So, that’s it? That’s what you wanted to tell me?”
More awkward moments. “OK, Bill. Thanks.”
He gets in his car and drives away. Bill goes back into the house and thinks, That was weird.
Six months later that friend was loving and following Jesus Christ as Lord.
It’s not that hard. Care about your friends, and when the Spirit prompts you, go along with it. He knows what He’s doing.
Let God use your influence.