A Dutch kid from Kalamazoo grows up well, moves to Chicago, and finds success in his work. As time passes he takes up one of his father’s hobbies — sailing.
Bill is good with his boat and he pulls together a team for racing. One member of his crew, a good friend from Michigan, doesn’t share Bill’s faith in Christ. Not at all. But that’s OK. They’re sailing together, not teaching Sunday school. Still, Bill brings it up. Often.
Finally, after many years of cajoling, Bill prevails upon his friend to join his family for Easter . . . which involves attending the Easter service at church. His friend drives over from Michigan, attends the service, enjoys lunch at Bill’s house afterwards, and then prepares to leave. It was a great visit, but registered zero on the 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 for ever, 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 there with the car door open, about to sit down. “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 those 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 sure weird.
And six months later that friend is 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. Let God use your influence.