Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Terminal Cancer...yet it was the greatest gift he had ever received

“Hi, my name is Tom. I have terminal cancer and I’ve been given eight months to live.”

It seemed like a rather abrupt way for someone to introduce himself to me being a complete stranger but, in fact, we were family. I just hadn’t realized it yet.

Let me share the rest of the story…

I was recently studying for a sermon in the cafĂ© of a Barnes & Noble bookstore when I noticed a young man near me reading a C.S. Lewis book. I asked him if he was enjoying the book and a conversation ensued about the church he attended, how he came to faith in Christ, and the campus ministry he was involved with. 

About 20 minutes later an older gentleman, who was sitting a few tables away, made his way over to where the young man and I were sitting.

The older gentleman introduced himself…“Hi, my name is Tom. I have terminal cancer and I’ve been given eight months to live.”

I replied, “I am so sorry to hear that.”

“Oh, don’t be. It turned out to be one of the greatest gifts I think I’ve ever received.” Tom said. He then went on to share with us how he couldn’t help but overhear our conversation about faith in Christ and our involvement in church. 

Tom shared that the day after he received his diagnosis, he felt the Lord impress upon him to begin praying a certain prayer.   

He said, “I began praying for FIVE friends that I would want to spend forever with in heaven. I then poured myself into building relationships with them so they would come to know Christ and we could be together forever.” Tom went on to say, “When you know your time is about up, it really helps put things in perspective. I’m about out of here but there are so many others that I want to join me in heaven.”

This next part is where Tom blew my mind. He explained that after a couple months of praying and pouring into his FIVE, he began to ask the Lord how he could have an even bigger impact on eternity in his remaining days. Tom said he felt the Lord asking him to expand his list and find 20,000 people who were willing to put FIVE people on their list and thus, encourage 100,000 people to join him in heaven. Tom said this had become his new purpose in life.

Tom asked me and the young man I was visiting with if we would consider joining him in reaching FIVE and being a part of his 20,000!   

“Consider it done, Tom,” we said.

So, I am committed right now to reaching FIVE people and doing what I can to make sure they are in heaven someday. If you are reading this, I am extending an invitation to you to join me in reaching FIVE people to make sure they know they will be in heaven with us one day.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I’m in. How about you?

Pastor Ken