Important decisions come at all stages of life; this is especially true of spiritual decisions. We were reminded of this as our 2020 was launched with the baptism of our grandson, Sam. He had mentioned, to his parents, in November that he wanted to be baptized. After several conversations, with both parents and Pastor Keith, it was decided that his baptism would occur during morning worship, the first Sunday of the new year. He was surrounded by his family (parents, grandparents, aunt, and brother), the children of the church and a host of church friends. Pastor Keith read about the significance of baptism, asked him some personal questions, and then lowered him down and up from the water. Though he is only 7 years old, Sam had made a decision that we wanted to follow Jesus...
This experience stood in stark contrast to an experience I had three years earlier. A close family member made his decision to become a Christian at 96 years of age. He had struggled for years with doubt and misunderstanding about his faith. He was always a good and moral man with a strong desire to help and serve others, but he didn't quite know how God (or Christ) fit into his life. But during his final days of life, he asked to visit with me. He told me, "I want to become a Christian but I don't know how." I explained how he could have a personal relationship with God through Christ and he said that was what he wanted; so we prayed and he invited Christ into his heart. Two days later, the Lord took him home.
The opportunity to experience forgiveness and grace is one that is available to us throughout our life; but what a tremendous advantage it is to make this decision while we are young. We then have the benefit (and confidence) of knowing that Christ is with us in every challenge, every decision, every trial, and every celebration of life. We have the privilege of being able to listen to Christ and allowing him to lead us through all of the stages life brings.
I was deeply honored and touched to have been a part of the decisions of both of these beloved family members. I know that the decisions of both were sincere; and I know that as a result of the professions of both, God did a wonderful work in their life. But I would have to encourage us all: don't wait until your final days on earth to make your decision to give your life to Christ. His grace and blessing are available to each one of us, right now. We simply need to come to a point of decision to make Jesus our Savior, Lord, and life-long friend.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.