Saturday, 12 March 2016

You Snooze, You Lose

Last year, I crocheted and knitted cowls for Christmas gifts. I created a special album on facebook and tagged all of the recipients who were on facebook in this album. As I finished each cowl, I posted pictures of it to this album so that the recipients could view it and think about which one they would like for their own. Each cowl was unique. There were some I liked better than others, and some I didn't really like much at all, so I wouldn't pretend to know which one each individual recipient would want. Or they, like me, might decide they didn't want one at all. How was I to know without their input? The recipients, with one exception, lived in another state or province, but one, I'll call her "Susan," actually visited during the summer and I showed her the cowls I had completed, so she knew about this project "in person." When the cowls were completed, I then tagged the recipients in a comment on the album on November 28, as well as sent an email to those for whom I had email addresses, requesting their choices by December 4 in order to package them and get them in the mail in time for Christmas. 
Now let me tell you a little bit about Susan: she's one of the world's fussiest gift recipients. She has returned a large percentage of the gifts she has received. It's at the point where her immediate family members often buy her gift cards for most gift-giving occasions in order to avoid the inevitable returns. So, she was the last person for whom I would have chosen a cowl without her input. After all my work in creating them, I didn't want hers languishing on a shelf or not being appreciated because it wasn't her colour or style. Or even resented. So I needed her input. And she was tagged in the album and the comment on facebook, as well as receiving an email and being aware of the project from her summer visit. But I didn't get a response from her.
All of the recipients who had responded got their cowls in time for Christmas. 
On December 22, there was a family funeral. I, being over 3,000 km away, did not attend. But a couple of the recipients did, one of whom actually wore her cowl to the funeral, and made a point of showing it to Susan and telling her she needed to go on facebook and let me know which one she wanted. Her response, "I almost never go on facebook." This recipient told me what she had done, so I waited to hear from Susan. She didn't call, email or facebook message me the day of the funeral, or for the remainder of that week. She didn't even call me on Christmas day to wish me a Merry Christmas and say, "Oh, by the way, this is the cowl I'd like and sorry I took so long to respond." I could only conclude that she didn't want a cowl. 
I had to decide what I was going to do with the remaining cowls. I didn't want them sitting around forever. I had decided I didn't want one. And for the intended recipients who didn't respond, though I had toyed with the idea of selecting one myself and mailing it on, how did I know for sure that they even wanted one, since I didn't? And one of the intended recipients was the subject of December's funeral. Then I remembered that one of the antique malls I frequent has a donation box for a homeless centre. I already had plans for a get-together in the city on December 27 with my buddy, Phil. So I suggested that we visit the antique mall on that day. 
On the morning of the 27th, I checked my email and my facebook account before leaving for the city. I wanted to give Susan one last chance to choose a cowl if she wanted one. Obviously, she didn't. And so the remaining cowls were donated to the homeless. And I posted that in a comment on the facebook album that evening. 
On January 3rd, I got a phone call from Susan. She wanted to request a cowl. She made her excuses that she never goes on facebook and she rarely looks at that email account because she gets so much junk in it (neglecting the fact that she never informed me she was using a different email, and not acknowledging that she had been reminded about the cowls in person at the funeral nearly 2 weeks previously) and that she figured I would just pick one I thought she would like and send it to her. Oh? Too late, I had to tell her. And while I did say that I might make her a cowl if I get the chance this year, that's not likely to happen. I have too many other projects on my agenda. And I already made her one. It was her procrastination that caused her to miss out on it. 
But really, missing out on a cowl is not a big deal. It certainly is not going to negatively impact one's quality of life. And definitely will not affect where one spends eternity. However, procrastinating about one's personal salvation is a much more serious matter. Susan was disappointed to not get a cowl, but putting off surrendering our hearts to Jesus can cost us heaven. We may rationalize that we can "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season," (Hebrews 11:25), and still have time to make things right with God. But not a one of us knows when our lives will end. Or even how long our cognitive abilities will last, to be able to make a decision for Christ. And each time we put it off actually hardens our hearts to the possibilty of making that decision in the future. 
Susan assumed that the cowls would still be there when she got around to asking for one. But she was wrong. Don't be wrong about asking for salvation, don't put it off. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2. 
Our Lord Jesus is returning soon, but "no one knows the day or the hour," (Matthew 24:36 NLV). "Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Matthew 24:44 NKJV. 
You might not want a cowl, but you won't want to miss out on salvation.