Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. (Ezek. 18:31)
Expanded Passage: Ezekiel 18:20-32
An important part of my family’s evangelistic ministry involved visiting churches across the country and holding week-long “revival meetings.” We developed strong friendships during those travels.
One year we noticed a significant change in one of our pastor friends, John. He exhibited a passion and excitement we had never seen before. We wondered what had happened.
“I died,” John stated matter-of-factly.
A few months previously, John had experienced a severe heart attack. His heart stopped beating. While doctors fought to bring him back to life, John claimed he felt himself floating above his body. Soon, he was on the outskirts of heaven, where he met Jesus.
“I was awestruck by Jesus’ eyes,” John declared. “They were full of compassion—and yet, I saw disappointment in them. Prior to the heart attack, I hadn’t put much effort into ministry. In encountering Jesus, I faced a choice: I could enter heaven with my ministry incomplete, or I could return and live for Christ more fully. I chose the latter.”
Part of John’s physical heart revived; part of it permanently died. He joked, “Before the attack, I lived half-heartedly with a fully functioning heart; afterwards, I literally had half a heart but lived fully for Jesus!”
Fourteen years later, John died again (and did not return). I am certain that this time John heard Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Live wholeheartedly for Christ.
Laura Hurd is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and holds a master’s degree from Wesley Seminary. She copastors with her husband, Jason, in rural Nebraska.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.