“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise”Proverbs 11:30
I worked in two of the largest hospitals in Arizona for several years and did numerous jobs while employed there. In my last job, I worked the second shift and was responsible for supplying the operating rooms as well as taking care of other supply needs throughout the hospital. I had a friend I met at the hospital who was a smart guy, but he had some mental health issues which were exacerbated by the stress of his job. His job was to carry a cordless phone and answer it whenever it rang and take care of the requests he was getting calls for. It did not seem to be stressful, but he sometimes would take five calls in a row with no room to breathe or even think. I could see the frustration on his face, and he would scream for me, “ROSENDO, help!”
Although helping him was not part of my job, I would have to be heartless to not see that he needed help in doing his. I began to take the phone while he took his dinner break, and even sometimes during his work hours when I saw he was overwhelmed. His stress level seemed to go down, and we developed a friendship because of it. He did not live far from work so I began to give him rides home, and we would often stop a local fast food joint to partake in some late night calories. Although I enjoyed our friendship, the time spent at the local fast food establishments only expanded my waistline. We talked about everything under the sun from ASU football and basketball to politics. He was enjoyable to talk with as he was quite knowledgeable and did not argue when we disagreed on a matter.
He took religion in college, and we would sometimes get into discussions about God and religious topics. He knew the Bible fairly well and did not dismiss it, but he had his reservations about the validity of it. He would ask me questions in a way to not offend me as he was respectful, but I did not ask him pointed questions as I should have. I should have been more direct in my line of questioning with him, and should have asked him point blank where he would spend eternity. I eventually left that job to work at my local church, but I would still get the occasional call from my buddy Steve. He would sometimes leave a message, “Hey Rosendo, this is your old running mate calling in to check in to see how you are doing. Call me back so we can discuss the good old days.” The message was always the same, and he would always call at 1:30am as if we were still working together.
We met a couple of times for dinner over the years, and it was good to see him every time we got together. Five or six years had passed when I got a disturbing call one day that took me by surprise. I learned that Steve took his life and they were going to do a memorial service for him at the hospital where we worked together. It had been several months since I last spoke to him, and I regretted not staying in better touch with him. In times like this, thoughts of all the things you could have done differently race through your mind and lead to regret that sits in your gut. I felt sick to my stomach when I heard the news, and God reminded me that I should have spoken more of things that mattered for eternity. I should have asked him if he knew where he would go when he died, but I failed my dear friend.
I sometimes wonder if Steve is still screaming my name,”ROSENDO!” like he did when we worked together. Is he screaming my name because I did not warn him of hell? I retrace my steps and regret things I should have said and questions I should have asked. I took his memorial bulletin and placed it in my Bible to remind me of someone to whom I failed to give the good news.
What about you? Do you know someone today who needs to hear the gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ? May we be faithful to extend the words of life to all those God places in our path, and may we not be haunted by the ones we failed to warn of a place called hell.
How about you, personally? Do you know where you will spend all eternity? Are you simply hoping to make it heaven, or are you 100% sure you will go to heaven when you die? If you aren’t sure, check out this link or reach out to me. I’d love to share with you the good news about Jesus.