- Phone: (706) 548-2246
- Mailing Address: 2390 West Broad Street, Athens, GA 30606
“Your labor is not in vain in the Lord”
(1 Cor 15:58)
I first heard the gospel from a six-year-old pastor’s daughter. Her family picked me up in their Volkswagen van for church at Victory Baptist Church one Sunday night. As soon as I entered the van she said, “I am saved. Are you?” and explained the gospel. The next time I heard it was from a young adult male Sunday School teacher from the Naval base chapel. Then, I heard it again, again, again, and again from members of the same church. One was Shawn Giese, a middle school friend, when I was an eighth grader. Another was Mrs. Barbara Crouse who told us the gospel in ninth grade Sunday School, and wept as she described Jesus’ death, a death she reenacted each Sunday because of the killing words her atheist husband stabbed her with as she left home to teach us. Next was deacon and California Highway Patrolman Jerry Knutson who told me the gospel in Sunday School in the 10th grade. Finally, in February 1982 my church called a new pastor when I was a struggling Junior in high school. He preached the gospel every Sunday and said 2 Corinthians 5:17 provided a standard by which we could measure the reality of our conversion. The verse reads, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away, behold, all things have become new.” One evening (April 5, 1982), around 9:00 pm, the gospel finally got ahold of me and I turned to Jesus. I was sixteen. It took seven years of witness encounters for me to come.
Each of the people I’ve mentioned above, from the six-year-old girl to the senior adult Sunday School teacher, contributed to my conversion experience. They each built my trust in Christ until I turned to him in repentance and faith. But I came to Christ only after I heard my pastor preach. I did not come after the witness of the six-year-old pastor’s daughter. I did not come after the witness of young adult
male Sunday School teacher. I did not come after the witness of Shawn or Barbara Crouse. I did not come after the witness of Jerry Knutson.
Can you imagine if after witnessing to me they saw my secular life and said, “Well, that didn’t do him any good. What’s the use in stretching and risking to share the good news?” What if they reasoned this way and never shared the good news again? What if Barbara Crouse reasoned, “Shawn witnessed to him and he did not turn. If he will not listen to someone his own age, why would he listen to an older woman like me?” What if Jerry Knutson reasoned, “Shawn and Barbara shared with him and he did not turn. If they cannot turn him no one can!” What if they gave up because I demonstrated no fruit?
Let’s be clear. While I did not come after their witness, I did come to Jesus because of their witness. Each of them played a significant role in bringing me to Jesus.
Most people will need 6—7 gospel presentations before they turn to Christ. Most people will need 6—7 invitations before the come to Beech Haven.
How about you offer yourself to God and say, “God, I am willing to be the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth witness. I will offer the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth invitation. I’ll be the sixth and seventh anytime, Lord, but even if I am not, I will be the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth, so that the sixth or seventh is effective!” Do not be discouraged. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord!
Perhaps you worked hard to get your friends here on Friend Day, September 22, and your friends did not come. It may take a few more invitations to get them here. You exposed your friends to the gospel, too, but they did not turn to Christ. Perhaps it will take a few more exposures to the gospel, and then they will come. When you share or invite someone, you are setting up someone else to be effective in the future. Keep up the good work. You are making a difference.
I Stand Amazed,