Arthur Was Oh So Close, Yet…..

A Fictional Narrative

“And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Arthur was born into a good family, but they were not churchgoers. He grew up with all the advantages of a family where both parents had professional careers. Arthur enjoyed all that his parent’s station in life afforded. He was well-liked at school and succeeded in getting good grades.

After college Arthur became a very successful business owner with many employees. He felt that he had made it in this world and thoroughly enjoyed his success. This included business dinners with plenty of drinking. He also began to use drugs privately. He felt that he had earned the right to let loose a little and enjoy himself.

Arthur had an employee named Peter who was also a close friend. Peter was one of the vice presidents at the firm and had been with Arthur from the inception of the company. Peter was a Christian and spoke with Arthur on many occasions about his faith in God. Arthur respected Peter’s faith but made it clear that he did not need a savior. He rather felt like he was a self-made man and that he could handle anything that might come his way. If Arthur was to be honest, he actually looked at dependence on God as a weakness.

As the years went on, Arthur’s business did very well. Arthur became one of the most successful businessmen in his city. He continued his destructive behavior and was somehow able to hide it from others so that his business did not suffer from his alcohol and drug use.

Arthur and Peter had lunch together on a regular basis and both had season tickets to a professional sports team in the area. They always attended the games together and enjoyed each other’s company. Peter, of course, did not agree with Arthur’s lifestyle regarding drinking and drugs. And Arthur respected Peter and would never abuse their friendship by using drugs or drinking while they were together.

Peter witnessed to Arthur on many, many occasions through the years and Arthur respectfully listened. He would always say that Peter’s faith was great for Peter, but he did not feel that the Christian life was for him. He did say that maybe someday he would consider all that Peter witnessed to him, but not at the present time. By this, Peter didn’t know if Arthur was just placating him, or if Arthur really thought that some time down the road, after he had lived a lifestyle Arthur knew was not pleasing to the Lord, that he would then make the decision to follow Jesus.

Many years passed and Arthur and Peter remained friends. Arthur’s lifestyle did not change nor did his opinion about Christianity. Peter would talk to him about the Lord from time to time, but Peter realized that Arthur continued to have no interest in the things of God.

Both men eventually came to retirement age and the business was sold. Peter stayed in the same city where he had worked and raised his family. Arthur, who never married, had made a fortune selling the business and moved to a city on the other side of the country. They visited from time to time and Peter noticed that since Arthur retired his health had declined dramatically. In fact, Arthur’s drinking and drug use had become much worse.

The doctors had warned him that his lifestyle through the years had taken its toll and that his health was deteriorating quickly. Peter spoke with Arthur once again about giving His life to the Lord. He told him that the Lord could deliver him from the alcohol and drugs that had him bound. Arthur listened politely as he always had, but would not give his heart to the Lord.

The time came when Arthur was hospitalized and close to death. Peter rushed to his side. The alcohol had destroyed his health and he did not have much time before death claimed him. Peter thought that certainly, Arthur would now be open to the Gospel. Sitting by the side of Arthur’s bed, with Arthur in and out of consciousness; Peter laid out the Gospel once again. He told Arthur that God loved Him and came and died on the Cross to pay the sin debt. That the Lord would forgive him and save him as he placed his faith in Christ and His sacrificial death at Calvary.

Arthur looked up at Peter and whispered that he did not feel he needed a Savior. He had told Peter on many occasions that he had been his own man all his life, that he had worked hard, given substantially to charities throughout the years, always treated people respectfully, and had provided employment to hundreds. Now very weak and close to death He still would not reach out to the Lord. Sadly, in his final moments of life, he still believed that the good he accomplished in his lifetime would suffice and guarantee him a place in Heaven.

Arthur died a short time later. Peter was devastated by the loss of his friend, and how Arthur, having heard the Gospel, had been so close to being saved by the God that loved him. Peter knew that many people have said that sometime in the future they would consider coming to the Lord. But he knew, as witnessed by his friend’s response to the Gospel, that if they will not do it today, it will only become harder down the road as they become more and more set in the ways of the world. He wondered if he should have pushed harder years earlier as his friend became more and more entrenched in a lifestyle that could only bring destruction to him. But he knew God has given us free will and each of us has a choice to make in this life. Peter’s prayer was that Arthur, at his last moment before death, had accepted the Lord. Yes, Arthur was so close to the Salvation that would bring him into the Lord’s presence for eternity, yet he had refused the Lord’s gracious and loving offer. Peter hoped He would see his friend again on the other side.

“Behold now is the accepted time; behold, today is the Day of Salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Always Remember,

God Loves You!

See the A,B,C’s of Salvation on this website. Link below!

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Here I am, Lord – Tom Quinn Ministries – 2023

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