I never really talked about Jesus with the lady across the street.
She was somewhere around 80-years-old so we spent a lot of time talking about the old days. I never stayed long. I mostly just stuck my head in the door for small talk and a prayer before saying goodbye. Other than using his name at the end of my prayer, I never really talked about Jesus.
This went on for several months.
As time went by, the lady across the street began to deteriorate. Her face had lost its color and her body was breaking down. But, like always, she still had a big smile. I began to wonder if she was a Christian. It was hard to tell since I never really talked about Jesus.
I wrestled with the best way to bring up the subject. I knew that she was dying and I didn’t want her to spend eternity apart from Jesus, even though we never really talked about him.
Finally, reason won. I figured that this lady had to be a Christian. The evidence, as I saw it, spoke for itself. She was a nice, old lady in the south. Her family went to church. Before her health got bad, she probably went to church. If I asked her if she was a follower of Christ, I might offend her. I felt better. It was easy convincing myself where another person stood with Jesus without ever talking about Jesus.
One afternoon I made my last visit to the lady across the street. When I pulled up in her driveway I noticed her daughter-in-law working in the yard. She was a very nice lady who also seemed to always have a smile. Not that day.
That day, she was more concerned than happy.
“Jay, she’s getting a lot worse. I know that she doesn’t have much longer and I’m not sure if she’s saved. She’s asking questions that I don’t really know how to answer. When you go in, will you please tell her about Jesus?”
This time, the lady across the street wasn’t sitting in her chair. She was in bed. But she was still smiling. Before I could get a word out, she got up enough strength to talk.
“Will you tell me how to know Jesus?”
And sitting there by her bed, we talked about sin, repentance, the cross and the resurrection. With the little breath she had left, she repented of her sins and put her faith in Jesus.
Just a few days later, the lady across the street stood before her Savior, the Man that I never really talked about.
I’m thankful that God’s grace is enough for people who spend over eight decades in rebellion against him.
And I’m thankful that God’s grace is enough for Southern Baptist ministers who never really talk about Jesus.