Two weeks ago I traveled to southeastern Kentucky to provide news coverage of rebuilding efforts from flooding which hit that region last summer. See articles and photos in this issue.
I was in Newport, so I plugged in the address in my phone’s GPS and off I went.
For this particular destination, my GPS took me up through Tazewell, into Harrogate and across the state line into Kentucky.
Normally, when I am on the road I am supposed to be, I check the mileage to the next turn off and the name of the road. Unfortunately, I neglected to follow my usual routine.
After several miles of winding through the mountain roads of Kentucky, I lost my GPS signal. At first, no big deal. That happens often when traveling. But as I traveled on, it didn’t come back. I still wasn’t too concerned. I knew I was heading in the general direction.
I decided to call Stanley Roach, disaster relief director for the Knox County Baptist Association who was leading efforts helping residents near Carrie, Ky., with repairing their homes. I knew he could guide me in. But, when I called him, there was no signal. Imagine that.
So, there I was in the middle of the mountains of Kentucky, basically lost, not knowing where I was going.
I learned two valuable lessons on that three-plus hour trip to southeastern Kentucky. First, I should have printed out my directions ahead of time. Then, it would not have mattered when technology failed.
Second, you don’t need technology to communicate with God. Prayer works no matter where you are. I prayed as I drove that God would guide me in the right direction. After driving for miles, I finally found a gas station. I must admit, the gas station attendant was not much help. She had never heard of my destination, but she “sort of knew” the direction I needed to go.
I set off again, determined to find my way. As I kept driving, I saw a sign noting that I was leaving the Daniel Boone National Forest. That was how lost I was. I didn’t even know I was in the national forest.
Long story short, I finally got to where I was going. And, believe it or not, the distance was exactly the same as my GPS had indicated it would be when I started. Now, it might not have been exactly the same route, but I know God led me through those mountains.
As I have pondered that experience, I knew I was lost, but I also knew who would rescue me from being lost.
Not everyone has that luxury and assurance. According to most statistics, about four million people in Tennessee, nearly two-thirds of the population, are lost because they do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Sadly, a large number of those people probably know they are lost and don’t care. They do not think that they need a Savior.
Even sadder are the millions of people who live in our state who are lost and don’t even know it.
And, what’s more, they may never know unless we, as Tennessee Baptists, tell them.
Think about it. On any given day, two out of every three people you pass are probably on the road to hell. Do we care?
I think and pray that we do. Be intentional this year. While not everyone is comfortable sharing the gospel one on one, we can all invite people to church. Sometimes, an invitation is all that is needed to see someone set on the road to being baptized and discipled.
All of us who have professed Jesus as Lord and Savior know what it’s like to be lost. It’s a horrible feeling. Let’s all do our part to decrease the lostness in Tennessee in 2023.
And, do you know the best part about sharing Jesus? You don’t need technology.
Technology will fail, but trust in Jesus will help you in any situation, including sharing the gospel with someone who truly is lost. B&R