February 13, 2023

 “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.”

-Matthew 24:40

Last summer, I was asked to lead a ride for the Baptist Bikers, it was in preparation of a benefit ride that we would be doing a few weeks later, plus it was a great excuse for us to just get together and fellowship.  This would be the first group ride I had been asked to lead and I was a little nervous.  The planning of the route, hoping for a good turnout, good weather, and, ultimately, an enjoyable trip for all.  It weighed on me.  

The day of the ride came and I was greatly encouraged by the number of people who showed up, the weather was beautiful, and I had planned a scenic route that would take us through some great roads in Eastern Kentucky.  Plus, I had a planned stop at a great little drive-in restaurant in the same town where my dad was born and raised.  I was starting to get excited about this ride!

As we got closer to the time that we would leave the local Harley dealership, where we met, I did a final check on how many we had riding with us.  We all gathered together and had a moment of prayer and then began getting our gear on and getting the motorcycles in line for our departure.  A friend of mine was right beside me, he looked back over the group and indicated that we had everyone and we were ready to head out.  That was all I needed to know, so I took off, leading the group out onto the highway and to the only stop light we would encounter on the entire trip.  I really had planned this out!  It’s in my nature.

As we were heading down the road to our first stop, I would periodically check my mirrors to ensure we were all staying together.  Everything was looking great and I was feeling pretty good about this ride.  I began to feel that I would pull it off.  We pulled into Spencer’s Dairy Bar, in Booneville, KY.  This is where we would make our first stop, have lunch together and stretch our legs.  As everyone was pulling into the parking lot, I was encouraged as I counted each motorcycle, rider, and passenger that arrived safely.  When it seemed that everyone had arrived, I noticed we were missing two motorcycles, which translated to four people.  I was worried about where they could be or what could have happened.  About 20 minutes later, I hear a couple of motorcycles coming through the town square and then see them pulling into the parking lot.  On both motorcycles, I noticed riders and passengers were smiling so I knew nothing bad had happened.  They got off their motorcycles and then the teasing began, and they were relentless!  It turns out, I had left them behind!  When we pulled out of the parking lot, I had not checked myself to ensure that everyone was in line.  I just took someone else’s word for it and took off.  In the process I had left four friends behind, but they ultimately found their way.  For a year now, I have been teased about leaving them behind, and we have generated so many jokes about the situation.

This story has a happy ending, and will be a pleasant memory for me for as long as I live.  But not all stories end so happily and this leads me to the heavy topic I wish to cover in this devotion, the day of judgment.  You see, my friends were left behind, but they found their way back to us.  But what about being left behind by God?  I won’t get into a discussion of the rapture, or the various views of how the end times may play out, but I know one thing is certain, there will be a day of judgment where the followers of Christ will be glorified and those who never accepted the gift of grace through faith will be cast into hell.  Sounds like a great devotion, right?  The truth is, we have to be willing to talk about the hard truths of the Bible, just as easily as we talk about the possibilities of all the great things that can happen.

There will come a day, that none of us can predict, where life as we know it will cease.  Look at these words in the 96th Psalm:

“...for he comes,  for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness,

    and the peoples in his faithfulness.”

-Psalm 96:13

The Old Testament talks about this day of judgment, where every single one of us will give an account of our lives before the Lord and the options of that judgment are limited.  We will either spend eternity in heaven or we will spend eternity in hell, and there are no do-overs, there is no bargaining at this point for a reprieve to keep you out of hell. The judgment will be the most final, authoritative and binding judgment ever recorded, because it will be a judgment from God.  

Right now, maybe you haven’t accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, and in this sense you are like my friends who were left behind.  They were lost for a while, but they found their way.  You, too, can find your way to Christ.  The fact that you are still drawing breath is the only indication that you need to know it is not too late.  You can experience the gift of salvation and an eternity in heaven.  In the end, whatever happens, will be because of a choice you have made and it boils down to one of two options; reject Christ or follow Christ, there is no middle ground and there is no doing it halfway, you fall into one group or the other.

Perhaps you are a follower of Christ, saved by grace through faith.  Your eternity is assured, but there is still work to do.  We must share the Gospel with everyone, we cannot let anyone be left behind because they did not know their options.  We have to be obedient to the Great Commission, and we need to let others know about the way God has changed our lives and the assurances we have of the gift of an eternity with Him.  The book of Revelation tells us that those who come to Christ will be an innumerable multitude:

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

-Revelation 7:9-10

We don’t know the day or the hour that our chances will run out, but we know that right now, in this moment, we are still here and we can pursue Christ and His free gift, or we can tell others about how that free gift has saved us from an eternity in hell.  Please don’t take this lightly, please don’t wait on this decision.  How you spend eternity truly rests in your hands, no one can make that decision for you.  All anyone else can do is to point you in the right direction and love you through it all.

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