I was able to speak at Bessie’s memorial service on Oct 14, 2010. She had asked me to preach the gospel. It was a great joy. I also preached the gospel at that first funeral 60 years earlier. There was a big difference. I am almost certain that fourteen of the sixteen men who died that day were not saved. Little had received Christ a few days before we hit the mine, and Fisher, when he was dying, asked me to pray for the other wounded men.
I want you to think about those people who die without Christ. In warfare we think of the people we are shooting at as the bad guys. They may be bad guys. In wars with communists, Muslims, and nations made up mostly of non-believers in Christ these men die without being saved. However we are also a nation made up of people more than half of which are not saved. When Americans die on the battlefield, some will go to the same Hell as the Muslims, and maybe under greater judgment. In wars in the 20th century, more than 100 million people were killed, more than half of them civilians, and the overwhelming majority not saved. In the same century the rest of the population of the world, times two, died from murder, disease, suicide and old age. Again, the overwhelming majority were not saved.
I rejoiced with Bessie going to be with the Lord and I am looking forward to being with Christ. I can say with Paul,
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.” (Philippians 1:21-26)
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'” (Matthew 9:36-38)
More people want into the Kingdom than there are Christians who want them in.