Some of you may have heard the story about my first fire fight as a young Marine officer in Vietnam. For those of you who haven’t, let me give a brief overview.
In the heat and chaos of what is called in combat terms a fire fight, we captured a Viet Cong fighter, and I immediately threw him to the ground. In that exact moment, the Lord pierced my heart over the wrong I had done and brought the following Scripture to mind.
“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” -Proverbs 25:21
As I collected my composure and gave him my canteen to drink some water under a profound conviction of my sinfulness, I sensed God shouting out to me in His tender mercy:
All people are precious to Me.
I responded, “But Lord, he was trying to kill me.”
Then I sensed the Lord saying again:
John, all people are precious to Me.
That was a defining moment in my life, and since then I have been taught some life-changing truths. But one of the greatest of those truths is this: that God values all people and that all of us who are indwelt by Christ Jesus are to know, value, and act upon that truth for God’s glory.
Everything the cross of Christ stands for shouts out the message of God’s redeeming love for a sin sick world. Allow me to make some observations about Christ’s love for all people.
First, all people will live forever, and lasting achievement and purpose that will live on into eternity must include people. Remember, people are precious and highly valued by God.
Second, there is a literal Heaven and a literal Hell. Jesus is the only One who understands this perfectly, and love demands that He leave Heaven and come to Earth.
Third, Jesus died for the sins of everyone, and what people do with His offer of forgiveness and eternal life determines their destiny.
Fourth, the faith to believe in Christ Jesus’ love comes from hearing the message from those who have been forgiven and received eternal life. We are God’s ambassadors sent to deliver the message of God’s love for the world (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Fifth, everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).
Sixth, how can they call if they have not heard (Romans 10:14)?
Seventh, how can they hear unless someone speaks to them (Romans 10:14)? Someone like you and me.
Eighth, the Book will be opened, and if anyone’s name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, they will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
Here’s the conclusion I have to come to when I consider these eight points: God loves those that are in your network.
Please go tell them about the love of Christ for them; most are desperate to hear.
Yes, more than 50 years after my fire fight experience, our Lord’s message to His church remains: all people are precious to Him.
And most of the world will have no idea unless we care enough to tell them.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.