One Sunday afternoon a few months ago, a couple of brothers and I went to a mall to share the Gospel before a Bible study. My friends and I had been going to this particular mall almost every Sunday for months and had some really great opportunities to share the Gospel. Malls are great fishing holes for evangelism because they are usually filled with people.
After arriving, I separated from the others because I needed to use the restroom. When I came back into the mall hallway, I immediately noticed a teenage boy running toward me to the exit. As I watched him make his way my direction, I wrestled in my mind whether or not I should give him a Gospel tract. Part of me thought, “Ah, he won’t take it. He’s in a big hurry. It’s not even worth a try.” But I felt the Lord impress on my heart the value of this young man’s soul. I don’t know his heart, but he certainly could be in danger of Hell.
Just before he passed me, I extended a tract toward him. He grabbed it and stopped right in his tracks and just looked at it. He finally asked me, “What is this?”
“It’s a Gospel tract!” I replied and realizing what an open door I had, I continued, “Hey, can I ask you a quick question?”
“Sure.” He agreed.
“When you take your final breath, where do you think you will spend eternity?”
He thought about it for a moment and then said, “I really don’t know.”
Most young people have at least some idea of where they will spend eternity, so I was somewhat surprised to hear his answer. I was also very saddened because it revealed that he was not born-again and I had almost passed him by.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Nice to meet you, Cameron. Do you have any sort of hope of where you’ll spend eternity?”
He answered, “Well, I guess I’d like to go to Heaven.”
“What do you think it takes to get there?” I asked.
“Be a good person, I guess.”
My heart always sinks when I hear this answer. The enemy is the great deceiver and his deceptive work is very apparent when you witness to the lost.
“So I’m assuming you’d consider yourself to be a good person?” I asked.
He thought for a moment and then told me he was.
“Okay. God’s standard for good and bad is the Ten Commandments. Let’s see how you do compared to them, okay?”
He agreed so I asked him, “Have you ever lied before?”
“Yes” he answered.
“What does that make you if you tell a lie?”
“A liar.” He answered.
“Have you ever stolen something?” He paused and answered reluctantly, “Yes, I have.”
“What does that make you?” I asked
As I began to ask him about another Commandment, I noticed that his eyes began to fill up with tears.
“Are you okay, Cameron?” I asked. He assured me he was and tried to play it off like he wasn’t crying. I didn’t want to say or do anything that would embarrass him so I just continued on, “Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain?”
He nodded his head.
I explained to him that when we take God’s name in vain, we are committing blasphemy because His name is holy and worthy to be praised and not to be used as a cuss word or just another conversational word.
By now tears were running down his face. I didn’t know what to say so I continued, “Cameron, here’s the deal – You and I are both guilty. Completely guilty. We deserve to go to Hell because we have turned our backs on God and have gone our own way.” He nodded in agreement and wiped tears from his face.
I continued, “But it’s absolutely amazing that despite all of our sin, God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ into this sinful world. He took our sins upon Himself and died in our place on the cross. The wrath of God that was reserved for us was actually poured out on His own Son. Jesus died and three days later rose from the dead! He offers forgiveness to anyone who will turn from their sin to God. If you come to Him, Cameron, with a humble heart full of faith and ask Him to save you, He will. He will wash your sins away as far as the east is from the west.”
As the tears continued to stream down his face, he could no longer contain his cries, so he began to weep. I waited for a few moments and then gently asked him, “Cameron, what’s the matter?”
He wiped his face with his shirt and replied in between his cries, “I just don’t understand why God would do all of that for us when we don’t do anything for Him?” His weeping immediately turned to sobbing. Standing there with him, I began to cry as well. You can imagine the scene: The two of us standing right in the middle of a busy mall crying together while people walk around us giving curious looks. It was a beautiful sight!
I said to him, “Cameron, God is opening your eyes up to the Truth. He is convicting you of your sin and drawing you to Himself.”
“Cameron, why don’t you right now in your own words ask God to save you and then I will pray for you.” He agreed and immediately began to pray out loud. He said a couple of words and then began to sob again. He apologized to God and asked Him to save him from his sins. He was so broken and full of faith. It was absolutely amazing to see such a contrite heart.
He was so emotional that a mall security guard came and stood near us to make sure everything was okay.
We prayed together and hugged and talked some more.
It’s been 7 months since that glorious afternoon and I haven’t heard back from Cameron. Perhaps he went home to be with the Lord shortly after our encounter in the mall. I don’t know. But I greatly rejoice in knowing this – “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
The Lord is awesome. Blessed be His name.