My daddy moved to heaven in the summer of 2016. He is there because of this verse of scripture:
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).
When I gave my life to Christ in 1980 I claimed this promise for my parents and younger brother. Within 2-3 years my faith turned to sight as my entire family came to Christ.
I am a product of a faithful witness who lived an exemplary Christian life before me. He was instrumental in not only leading me to the Lord, but getting me baptized in water and in the Holy Ghost. He also personally discipled me in the things of God during my first year as a believer, taking me to church and Bible studies. I owe him a debt for his faithful witness in my life.
THE AROMA OF CHRIST
It all started in college. Rick was the mailroom clerk. There was something different about him. He possessed a joy and a peace that was otherworldly. Love emanated from his being. The Bible calls it the fruit of the Spirit – fruit that is worthy of further inspection. I inspected it and liked what I saw. His fruit created a hunger in me. It was the aroma of Christ.
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph. 5:2).
Not only did he have fruit, but he glowed with a radiant countenance. One day I walked into his office to get my mail and observed a big open Bible on his desk. I looked at his Bible and then at his shining face. I put two and two together and concluded that an open Bible equals a shiny radiant face.
“They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed” (Ps. 34:5).
It’s interesting that after I came to Christ a college friend of mine witnessed that same radiance in me and told me about it after he had gotten saved. That was encouraging to hear. Have we forgotten that we are living epistles read of all men?
“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:2-3).
The witness of Rick’s life was undeniably clear. Conversations of Jesus were making Him known. Incorruptible seeds were being sown. One Christmas I remember the college newspaper posted pictures of students and workers asking them what Christmas meant to them. There in the middle of the page was Rick’s big smiling face with one word in capital letters underneath his picture – “JESUS!” My insides rumbled again with more hunger.
I’ve got to find out how to have what he’s got!
Then there was the night I called him at about 1:00 am in a drunken state. Girlfriend problems. He told me that him and his wife would pray once we got off the phone. Such love and care continued to tug on my heart. Jesus was calling. Shortly after graduation from college I made the leap and surrendered my life to Christ.
One other memorable incident I failed to mention that led to my salvation happened in the summer of 1979 during the season of Rick’s witness in my life. Arriving home from a party in a semi-drunk state, I turned on the television and evangelist James Robison was preaching the gospel (yes, he was already preaching that many years ago). Almost immediately I fell under conviction and sobered up. Then I wrote his ministry a letter asking him how to stop sinning and doing the things I was doing. The real gospel always produces those kind of dealings of God in a man. Repentance was working in my heart. I knew Rick had been praying for me and others whom he constantly witnessed to. What a life and an example he was to me! Sinners remember a life lived well before them.
Since then God has taken this little life and has used it for His glory to not only impact my own family but thousands of others here and around the world. We lived in West Africa as missionaries for many years and witnessed the supernatural impact of so many lives. Last year God opened a door for us to be on Arabic satellite television. Soon we will be picked up by one of the largest satellites in the Middle East that has 4 million viewers per day and the editors are dubbing my voice into Arabic (Reaching the sons of Ismael). Many of my relatives – grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins have all heard the gospel from me and my family. They’ve witnessed us forsaking religion and the traditions of men and our denomination. They’ve witnessed our lives being lived for the Lord. Precious seeds and precious prayers have been sown on their behalf. Some have come to Christ. Others will before they die.
GO FOR THE ONE
Who is in front of you? Who are your neighbors, friends, and co-workers that have not yet come into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? Does your life make them hungry? Does your witness inspire them to want what you have? Does your testimony cause their wombs to open and reach for divine purpose in their own lives?
Do not despise the one. Don’t give up on them. Stay in their lives. Rick was in my life during most of my college years, but I did not surrender to the Lord until shortly after graduation.
Be patient and take time with the one, for one life can produce a chain reaction that impacts so many other lives. I read that during a lifetime just one introverted person touches 10,000 other people in some way.
Let’s take advantage of the freedom we have to preach the gospel. Let’s redeem the time. Let’s believe together for the lives of the millions of believers in America and other nations to become faithful laborers and produce a harvest of souls for the glory of God.
Jesus is worthy of the reward of His sacrifice.