A 103 Year Old Atheist
Sometime back I was having conversation with a man that was 103 years old. He had been in the nursing home so long that he called it home. Believe it or not, this man still looked healthier than most and I’m not sure he was convinced that he would ever die. After much small talk, I asked this man to share with me what he believed would happen after he died? He replied, “I’ve never really thought about it because it won’t matter to me. I’ll just be asleep.” My first response was, “Sir you’re a 103 years old and you’ve never thought about eternity. I believe that once a person hits triple digits they really ought to start thinking about life after death.”
Now, I would love to share this great story of how I reached this guy for Christ. But, I’ve never seen this man again and the last time I did he was the coldest, most unbelieving man I had ever met. I left that nursing home wondering how anyone could live that long and yet claim to have absolutely no faith or belief in God. Here are the only possibilities I could come up with in my mind.
#1: He Never Looked Outside. Scripture tells us that Creation speaks for itself giving every man no excuse not to believe in God. Surely, this man had seen the moon, the sun, the ocean, the mountains, and many other countless creations that man could never take credit for making. Had he been up for taking a walk, I believe I would have taken him outside. I would have asked him to look around and explain to me how such amazing beauty was ever created.
#2: He Was Raised Around Unbelievers. From the little bit I gained from our conversation this man did not grow up in a Christian family. Maybe he was raised by those who were faithless. Maybe he was surrounded by those who claimed to have faith, but never exemplified that faith in a genuine, loving way. Maybe he was turned off by all those who preach one thing and practice another. Maybe he never had anyone take the time to even ask him about his faith condition and share with him the gospel. Honestly, this man did not even seem to have a reference to past faith and my words appeared to be words he rarely, if ever heard from others.
#3: He Never Read The Bible. The Bible tells us that faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. Every time we open the pages of scripture we are reading God’s love letter given to mankind. I believe that anytime God’s word is spoken or read it has power. The kind of power that can cut through any heart, change any mind, and save any soul. Yes, we each have to make a choice to accept or reject that word. However, I wonder did this man know that God loves him? Did this man know that Jesus died for him? And, did this man know that one day we will all die and then give account of ourselves to God?
Now, I personally don’t think there is any such thing as a smart atheist. But, there are many people who are confused, ignorant, and turned off by what has transpired around them. I honestly believe that 7 out of 10 people living around us don’t know Jesus. Many people do believe there is a God. But, they need to know that the only way to that God is through Jesus. Here is what we can do about this.
One, BE JESUS where you live, work and play. Allow your life to reflect God’s goodness, grace, mercy, and love to those who may not yet believe. Two, SHARE JESUS with your family, friends, co-workers, classmates, and even total strangers. It doesn’t matter if a person is 3 or 103, we all need Jesus. Don’t assume someone else has shared the gospel with anyone. Finally, PRAY FOR THE LOST around you. One of the things that is killing the church today is its lack of compassion for lost people. There is nothing more important than the salvation of someone’s soul. Pray that hearts would be open, seeds would be planted, and be God’s faithful ambassador everywhere you go.
“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)