Reflections on Las Vegas: Would you leave behind a spiritual massacre?

The mass shooting in Las Vegas elicits many appropriate biblical responses – anger over the evil actions, grief over the assailant’s lost soul, compassion for the dead and surviving victims, and urgent prayer. There is one additional reaction that has gripped me the most – namely reflection, taking inventory of my life responsibilities.

See, I and anyone of you reading this could be one of the approximately 60 dead or over 500 injured. Like the incident in Las Vegas, we also can suffer from the consequences of someone’s sin. We live in a fallen world, and James 4:14 states, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” I do not know when “my time is up” for this side of eternity. I do not know if I will die of natural causes or disease, personal negligence, or the consequence of someone else’s sin. Ephesians 5:16 exhorts us to make the most of our time on earth, because the days are evil. This is reiterated in Colossians 4:5, albeit in a different but related context.

There are three life responsibilities that I have reflected upon to ensure I do not leave behind a spiritual massacre:

  1. Ministering to My Wife: In Ephesians 5, Paul describes the role of the husband and relates marriage to the Christ-Church relationship. Jesus sacrificed so that the Church may be holy and blameless (v. 27). Have I done this for my wife? Specifically, have I sacrificially provided a means where she is spiritually edified and more like Christ today than yesterday? Have I prayed for and with my wife, ensured she has time away from the children to study God’s Word and fellowship with other ladies, and fostered an environment for her to flourish in using her God-given gifts and talents? Husbands, have you properly stewarded your God-given assets to provide for your wife if you were a victim in a mass shooting (i.e., do you have a will)?
  2. Preparing My Children: Deuteronomy 6:4-9 clearly places the authority of teaching my children about God on my shoulders. Have I abdicated this authority or been a passive father? Have I taken advantage of every teachable moment, or have I been distracted by life? Do I recall that we are in a spiritual war and Satan wants to devour my children (1 Peter 5:8)? Have I prayed on a consistent basis for and with my children? If I died today in a mass shooting, would I have prepared them to be arrows that can be shot into the world and hit the mark (Ps 127:4)?
  3. Reaching the Lost: Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:9 clearly exhort all believers to share the Gospel. This is not a part-time job for believers, but is a 24-7 responsibility as we do life. Have I failed to hear the Holy Spirit urging me to share the Gospel with someone? The consequences are dire, for both the lost person and me. Ezekiel 33:1-7 sums this up pointedly:

[1] And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, [2] “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, [3] and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people, [4] then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. [5] He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. [6] But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
[7] “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. [8] When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. [9] But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

If I fail to share the Gospel, the blood of the lost is on my hand. If I die today in a mass shooting, have I missed opportunities to share salvation through Jesus with the lost around me?

October 1 marks the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. If you (as a believer) and I were one of the dead, we would be face to face with our risen Savior. However, the more pertinent question for us is who do we leave behind? Do we leave behind a spiritually mature and provided for spouse, saved and spiritually prepared children, and new professions of faith, or do we leave behind a spiritual massacre?