Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the Brink of Eternity

It was hot in North Texas yesterday. This morning the weatherman reported that we've exceeded 100° for eleven out of the past twelve days. Yesterday was among the hotter of those days. I think they were forecasting an afternoon high of 104° F.

I was walking toward my car in the church parking lot, on my way to Rotary Club when my wife Tracy rang my cell phone. "Are you in Rotary Club yet?"

"Not yet, but I'm headed that way. What's up?"

"I'm out here East of town on 380, and there are two elderly couples riding together in a car. They've had a flat tire, and it is way too hot for them to be changing a flat tire. Can you round up somebody to help?"

I replied, "I don't need anybody to help with just a flat tire. I'll be out there in a minute."

So I rolled through the Shell station here in town and picked up five bottles of Dasani (I figure I'll be overheated, too, in a few minutes). I made quick work of the three miles or so to the spot on U.S. 380 where the immaculate Cadillac had been sidelined by a blowout.

By that time another young man had pulled over. He had a truck with a toolbox and a "real" jack. Between the two of us, we quickly had the donut spare on the car. I instructed the family to follow me to a tire shop in Farmersville.

A brief conversation revealed that all four were Christians and were active members of their Baptist church back in Longview, Texas. The owner of the Caddy was, in fact, a Cadillac dealer there—thus the new and pristine car they were driving. The foursome declined to share lunch with me at a local establishment (lunch at Rotary club was no longer a possibility for me), anxious to make their way onward toward McKinney and then Plano for a shopping outing. We made our farewells and I went on to clean up and eat.

A few minutes later, a concrete truck struck them in Princeton (the next town up the road). The owner of the car was killed. One of the ladies wound up in a McKinney hospital with a fractured pelvis. A member of our church—a nurse—prayed with them and was encouraging them and ministering to them when they learned that she is a member here. They asked her to call me and let me know.

I preach it, so I ought to know and remember that any person we meet any day might be standing on the brink of eternity. But I forget, too—not intellectually, but in my heart. Occasions like this one shock me back into the harsh reality that surrounds us. Let us be faithful to be a witness for Christ whenever and wherever we can.


volfan007 said...


Sobering story.

I have one for you. I was out visiting one night, and I went to the wrong house. It was out in the country, and people didnt have house numbers on their mailboxes, houses, etc. This was back when 911 was first coming in. Anyway, I went to the wrong house. An older couple lived at this house, and the wife invited me in. She was washing dishes, and the husband was watching Wheel of Fortune of tv. They never went to Church, and they didnt seem too concerned about God and salvation, etc.

Well, I tried to talk to this man and his wife about the Lord and salvation, but the man only wanted to watch Wheel of Fortune. The wife wasnt very interested, either. So, I left with a hearty, loving goodbye, hope to see you in Church Sunday, type of departure; over the loud tv, BTW.

Well, some of my members, who knew this older couple, asked me the next day had I heard what had happened that morning to this couple. I said that I had not, but that I had visited with them the night before. They then proceeded to tell me that the wife was washing the breakfast dishes the next morning, while the husband went out to his garden to work in it. The wife looked out the window, and saw her husband fall to the ground. He had dropped dead of a heart attack.

So, the night before, I had gone to the wrong house, which was really the right house, because the Lord had aparently given this man one last chance to get saved. He chose the Wheel of Fortune over listening to the Gospel, and his wife had shrugged me off with a "Yea, that's right," type ok, ok, now get out of here response. But, the next day, this man died, and as far as I know, went to Hades to await the judgement of Hell.

Yes, Bart, people are more close to the brink of eternity than we realize sometimes.

Good post, Brother.


Anonymous said...


DMP1994 said...

I'm sorry to learn about that horrible accident. It's a stark reminder that, as Kierkegaard encouraged, we should live ready to die.

God bless you for your service to them (especially on such a hot day).

Anonymous said...

That is heartbreaking, Bart. I'm saying a prayer for them now. We don't always step into the opportunities that God puts before us (those good works prepared in advance for us to do). Thank you for being available and for reminding us to do the same.

M. Steve Heartsill said...

Indeed, a sobering story.

Isn't it amazing how these people had an appointment first with your wife, then the young man and yourself (have you checked on the young man to see how he is handling this?--God may have further ministry for you to do with him), and then with God Himself!

James 4:14 sure comes to life when you hear stories like this.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Just think the Lord used a truck driver, a nurse, a wife, and a pastor. My, my, what a team.

Thanks for the story, it challenges our faith and makes us stronger. Our prayers are with these dear folks and their shocked families.

Troy Long

Tim G said...

Makes our problems vanish! What a chain of events. Praying for them and you as you minister.

Anonymous said...

Bart, so many opportunities are missed each day as we are called to walk in faith. This narrative is an incredible reminder of what we miss out on and what others may, if we are not diligent and sensitive to His Spirit. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Praise the Lord that these folks were Christians. That makes all the difference in the world.

David: What a sad sad story for that man. Did you ever go back and minister to the wife again? selahV

volfan007 said...


I went to the funeral home. I was not received well by her then. So, I never went back. I got busy with other folks.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this Bart. I needed to hear this one this morning.