Why Not Tonight


Robert was fifteen and he had not accepted Jesus as his Savior and joined the church. It was the last night of the revival meetings and quite a few people had come forward during the invitation. Some were already church members who wanted to confess sins and reconsecrate their lives and some were joining the church, including Robert’s friends.

Robert was the only kid at the church, over the age of thirteen who hadn’t stood and walked down the aisle. He knew he could do it anytime, but after the meetings, there would be instruction classes for the new members and now would be a good time to join, if he was ready. He just didn’t know if he was ready. The congregation was singing the last verse of the invitation song, Oh Why Not Tonight. Now they were singing the chorus, “Wilt thou be saved, then why not, oh, why not tonight?” Just before they reached the end, the preacher asked, in a soft pleading voice, let’s repeat the chorus just one more time. Robert froze at the realization that he would need to hear those words sung again. He knew that his parents were hoping he would stand but he just wanted it to be over so he could be back home and in his room. He wondered if there was something wrong with him. It seemed so easy for his friends to join. It was almost like they weren’t even thinking much about it.

Robert knew he wasn’t perfect and maybe he would be happier if he just accepted Jesus and had all his sins forgiven, but he didn’t feel ready to join the church, in fact, he was thinking he may never want to join. He didn’t want to go to hell and burn for eternity, so, he worried.

When the song was done, the preacher said the benediction and came down from the pulpit to pray with those who were kneeling at the alter. The congregation was dismissed and Robert made a beeline for the door.

On the way home, in the car, his daddy said, “Well son, we thought you may want to come forward during the meetings this year,” then everything was quiet except for the low hum of their Chevrolet. Robert’s mother was sitting up front and she just kept looking ahead. Robert was in the back with his little sister. She hadn’t joined yet either. He was glad it was dark. After awhile, Robert said, “I’m sorry.” Then no one else said anything except his sister who asked, “Can we have ice cream when we get home?” Robert didn’t want ice cream but he was glad she said that.

05/22/2017 © Don Lehman