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I will never stop sharing this story!

The memory is too vivid to forget. The events of that morning have been burned into my mind. It was an incident that changed my life. I will remember every detail of it until the day I die. Telling others of that morning gives me great pleasure. It is a story that I never tire of sharing. That is why I have written it down to share with you.

It was a cold, dreary, and rainy Saturday morning. The steady drumming of the raindrops falling on the skylight above my bed tempted me to stay underneath my warm covers. But responsibility demanded that I be present for the seminar.  

As I entered the small auditorium, the instructor was calling for order so that the lecture could begin. I quickly found an empty aisle seat halfway down on the left side. The speaker began his introductory remarks as I opened my notebook. 

Suddenly, a thunderous explosion shook the building. My ears were still ringing when I realized the speaker had stopped talking and was staring at the back of the room. In unison, people in the audience turned their gaze to the back of the auditorium. My heart leapt into my throat at the sight of two rain-soaked men holding shotguns standing at the doors. Steam and smoke could be seen rising from one of the gun barrels. Dust and debris were falling towards the floor from the holes in the ceiling that obviously had been made by the gun blast. The smell of gunpowder filled the room.

“Nobody move!” one man shouted as he walked down the aisle to the front of the auditorium. The other gunman remained in front of the exit doors.

“In two minutes, someone will be dead,” the man continued. “I do not care who it is but someone is going to die. You can choose, volunteer, or I will choose, but someone is going to die!”

Everyone sat in stunned disbelief. I am sure that all two hundred people in attendance were thinking the same things I was: “Maybe they were just trying to scare us. Surely, they would not kill someone in cold blood.”

“You have one minute,” the man in the front calmly announced while watching the second hand on his wristwatch.

At that moment I began to hear the sounds of muffled sobbing. The woman seated directly in front of me began whispering a prayer.

“Time is up!” the gunman proclaimed. My heart was beating so loudly inside of my chest that I could hardly hear the words the man spoke.

“You chose no one and no one volunteered,” the man said as he scanned the room. The movement of his eyes slowed and finally came to rest upon me.

“So, I choose you!” he said as he pointed his shotgun directly at my face.

The intruder’s words felt like a knife being thrust into my stomach and then twisted. He then grabbed me by my arm and jerked me to my feet.

“Say your prayers,” the invader sneered as he raised his weapon to my head. I could feel the warm steel of the recently fired shotgun barrel pressing against my right temple. Many thoughts raced through my mind at that moment. “What would happen to my family? Why me? Please, God, help me!”

“Wait!” a voice rang out from the back of the room. “Take me, I volunteer.” The words came from an elderly man who slowly moved down the aisle. I had never seen the man before in my life.

Again, the elderly man proclaimed, “Take me.”

The rain-soaked intruder pushed me roughly to the floor as he said, “Fine, old man. I don’t care who dies.”

And right before my eyes, the gunman shot and killed the elderly man. The two weapon-wielding intruders vanished into the rain as quickly as they had appeared. My life had been spared. No, my life had been given back to me, purchased by the blood of a stranger.

If this had happened to you, would you ever forget it?  Could you spend too much time trying to gain information about the man who took your place? Could you appreciate the sacrifice of that man too much? Could anyone cause you to feel shame or embarrassment for honoring that man by sharing the story of what he had done for you? If this had happened to you, would you ever stop telling the story just because someone laughed or made fun of you for sharing that information? Could you tell this story too many times?

The fact of the matter is; this did happen to all of us. Around two thousand years ago Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on a cross so you and I would not have to die. But the death he saved us from is far worse than any physical death a person could experience. Jesus saved us from an eternal death of torment in hell.

Now I ask you, which is more important, a temporary physical life on earth, or an eternal spiritual life in heaven? Which story would you find easier to share with others: the one about the man saving your physical life or the one about Jesus saving your soul? Which is more important?  

Since Jesus died for you should you ever forget it? Can you learn too much about Jesus? Could you ever appreciate his sacrifice too much? Could you ever be made to feel shame or embarrassment for sharing the story about the one who saved your spiritual life? Is it possible to tell this story too many times?

Why, then, are you not telling the story? Why do you not take advantage of every opportunity to tell the story of how Jesus died for you? Why are you not at every worship service where you can, once again, thank the one who saved your soul? Why? The Lord is waiting for your answer.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).

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