Yesterday I called Foreman and Abbott, a local heating and cooling company, to look at the air conditioner at the parsonage. The guy who came asked if his company installed our relatively new (2 or 3 years) AC unit. I said no. He said when their company installs heating and AC units for churches, they don’t charge for service calls. The company is Christian led and wants to help churches. If I had only known that, I would have tried to get the church to purchase from Foreman and Abbott. We were foolish not to, but we didn’t know. It stinks when there’s something that would have been beneficial to know and you just didn’t know it.
Paul said that was not going to happen as he was about to leave Ephesus in Acts 20:17-27. He was leaving there having told them everything they needed to know. He said for three years he taught them through tears and trials. He said he held nothing back in telling them of their need to repent to God and to have faith in Jesus. And because he told them everything they needed to know to make a decision for Christ, if any of them were not yet a child of God knowing salvation available only through Jesus, their blood was not on his hands. If they perish, it would not be because they weren’t warned. They would not be able to claim, “If I had only known…” when they died and faced the Creator and Judge who would decide heaven or hell for them.
That’s my goal as I prepare to leave the Mason UMC. I pray that every person who has come through these doors the last six years has heard the Gospel and had an opportunity to repent and have faith in Jesus. If it was someone who has gone to church here for a long time and doesn’t yet know Jesus as Savior or someone who only came one time, I want to leave knowing I told them what they needed to know, holding nothing back. And it’s not that I’ve perfectly preached and lived the Gospel, but I’ve done my best and God can and does work through our words and efforts. So while someone may be able to say, “I’ve decided against following Jesus”, they can’t say, “If I had only known…”