As I’m writing this today, my birthday has just passed. I was born on August 23, 1960. I was born to a godly young couple, and from before I was born, I was in church. My mother was singing in the church choir while she was pregnant with me. I have been in church my entire life; I grew up surrounded by the gospel. I went to Sunday School, sang in the youth choir, went to youth camp, recited parts in Christmas plays, and memorized John 3:16 at an early age. I came to faith very early in my life and have been sustained and uplifted by that faith to this very day. I’ve known the gospel my whole life.
Somewhere in the world today there is another man who just had a birthday. This man was also born on August 23, 1960. But unlike me, he’s lived nearly 60 years now and has never one time in his life heard the gospel. He can’t quote John 3:16; he’s never heard it; never read it. He’s never been to Sunday School; never attended a worship service. He’s never had a Bible. He’s never heard a Christian song. He was born on the same day I was, but perhaps has never even heard the name, “Jesus.” Whereas I have been surrounded by the gospel my whole life, he has never one time been exposed to the gospel in any form.
Oswald J. Smith is quoted as having asked, “Why should anyone hear the gospel twice until everyone has heard the gospel at least once?”
That is a convicting question for me. I think about it often, especially when my birthday comes around and I reflect on my life. Over the last number of years I’ve come to pray a particular prayer on my birthday. I pray for the gospel to reach that man; the man born the same day as me, who has never heard the gospel. I pray that in God’s sovereignty and by His grace the light of the gospel will somehow pierce the darkness in which this man lives; that he would have the good news of the gospel presented to him in a way that he could understand it, embrace it, and believe.
I don’t know if we will celebrate birthdays in heaven. But I do wonder if one day I might meet this man in eternity and find that the gospel did reach him, and that he came to faith. How glorious the thought of being able to celebrate with him his “new birth-day!”
When is your birthday? Would you take a moment right now and pray for that person born the same day as you who has never heard the gospel? Also, would you consider praying with the leaders in your church family about becoming involved in the EPC/WO Engage 2025 strategy to plant churches among Unreached Muslim People Groups? Perhaps your church would even consider adopting an unreached people group. For more information on unreached peoples, check out https://joshuaproject.net/.