The Shots We Don’t Take

By Janelle Pollard

On September 11, 1777, Captain Patrick Ferguson faced a decision that would forever change the course of history. He noticed an American officer in the distance riding on horseback into view. Unbeknownst to this officer, he was mere seconds away from potentially being taken out by the best shot in the British army. However, Captain Ferguson was plagued with guilt at the thought of killing someone without their knowing of the presence of an enemy. He felt that ambushing someone in this way was simply wrong. So before shooting, he yelled at the American officer. At least then, there would be a fair chance. Once the American heard the yell, he rode off, and the British marksman lost his chance. The next day, Captain Ferguson learned that the officer whose life he ultimately spared was none other than General George Washington. Had Captain Ferguson ambushed Washington a day earlier, we can only guess how the American Revolution might have ended.

One decision may seem insignificant at the time, but we never really know how many people it may affect years, or even decades, down the road. 

Marshall Keeble, a gospel preacher born in 1878, made the decision to become a Christian, and that decision went on to impact the lives of thousands. Keeble was reported to have baptized over 20,000 people throughout his ministry. There is no telling how many more souls were saved because of those 20,000+. One of those was a young man named “Randall.” This young man would go on to spread the gospel to some of his co-workers. One of those co-workers was Michael Shank, who would go on to write a book, Muscle and a Shovel, about his conversion, which would lead thousands more to obey the gospel. Without Marshall Keeble making the decision to become a Christian, who knows how many people may have never decided to become a Christian. While it is ultimately up to each person to seek out, find, and obey the gospel, it is also true that we as Christians are commanded to “…go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15) How many lives will be impacted if we decide to obey this command? And worse, how many lives will be affected if we don’t?

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20

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