Marc Everett | Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church | Fort Collins, CO.
This morning I received the following note in a card, “Marc, I have been meaning to send you this card for so long, but wanted to write you a note to explain my sincere gratitude for your gentle and thoughtful way. I want to thank you for meeting with me and helping me to accept Christ as my personal Savior. Our meeting, combined with your sermons, have transformed my life and I thank you. P.S. I hope this lifts your spirits as you have lifted mine!” She also included a longer letter detailing some of her favorite scriptures and examples of how Christ is working in her life.
Now, the longer story — This card came from a woman who started attending this church two years ago with her husband. Her husband’s mother (a regular attender at Bethel) had prayed for some time that her daughterin- law, who was raised in a strong Irish Catholic family, would be saved. Well, the time came that she (the mom) became too frail to live on her own and was placed in assisted living. Her son has, since that time, lovingly and consistently accompanied his fragile mother to church each Sunday morning. His wife, the Irish Catholic, started attending with them. Apparently she also acquired some Sunday night tapes as I taught about the various denominations, including a message on the errors of Catholicism. God used this to bring her to re-examine her beliefs in light of scripture.
She made an appointment with me to discuss spiritual matters. She had a list of questions from listening to my sermons. With an open Bible, I showed her the difference between man-made religion and what Jesus came to provide for us. Two years of listening had created a hunger in her heart for the kind of genuine faith and joy-filled peace that she saw in others. I asked her if she would like to settle the matter once and for all by trusting in Christ and Christ alone for her soul’s salvation and, with tears, she said “yes.” She prayed the most sincere and genuine prayer admitting she was a sinner and that she needed salvation through Christ. Afterwards, I encouraged her to tell someone about what Jesus had done for her. Within five minutes she told my wife that she had just accepted Christ. She is now growing and showing. Her relationships, her job, and her grasp of scriptural truth are all giving credit to the new life she has found by turning from dead religion to a personal faith in Christ.
Brethren, this is what it is all about. Now, this week I may get some bad news or have to face something discouraging. However, on my desk there is a card, and a letter, as well as a restaurant gift card from someone whose life has been eternally saved from hell, and who now has the deep sense of joy from a steadily growing assurance of salvation because God, in His miraculous way, used someone like me to bring another to salvation. This is why I am where I am, and why I do what I do. I am so very encouraged, not only that this woman came to Christ, but that the love of God compelled her to express thanks to the one who led her to Christ.
Lessons for me include:
1. Praying for another’s salvation may result in circumstances you didn’t plan but God knows will be effective.
2. Some people may take years to come to Christ. Don’t give up or run them off by being obnoxiously pushy.
3. Having a church atmosphere that reflects what we claim to believe really helps the Word take root.
4. God amazingly does His quiet, behind-the-scenes work to bring sinners to Himself.
5. I would rather have one sincere conversion like this one than any number of shallow, short-lived “professions” such as we often see.
6. The devil fights hardest where his kingdom is most threatened.
7. God amazingly uses undeserving, unworthy servants to do the most important work in the universe!.