Something to think about.
"I NEVER KNEW" The Extent of One Man's "Limited" Ministry
While in a large East Coast city on business, Dan had spent the evening drinking in the hotel bar. Having sworn that this trip would be different, he was feeling pretty disgusted with himself the next morning. He decided a long walk might clear his head and his mood, so he struck out and soon found himself on a narrow residential street. The houses were small but clean, and well kept, and Dan sensed that he had chosen a good direction.
About halfway down the block, an elderly gentleman looked up from his chore of raking leaves, and greeted Dan warmly. "Good morning to you," he smiled. "Looks like the Lord has put together another beautiful day, doesn't it?"
The old man looked at Dan's bleary eyes and rumpled clothing. "You know, son, Jesus Christ could make this the best day of your life, if you'll let Him." He reached into his pocket and handed Dan a small tract. "Why don't you look this over and stop by and see me again?"
Dan half-heartedly thanked his benefactor, stuck the tract into his jacket pocket, and went on his way. He didn't read the tract, but somehow he never quite managed to throw it away. A year later, on another business trip, Dan found himself frantically pacing his hotel room. He was at the end of his rope, spiritually, financially, emotionally, and physically.
By habit, he threw on his jacket and started for the door. But as he shoved his hand into his pocket, that persistent little tract touched his fingers. He pulled it out, went to his bed, and read through its entirety. He opened his nightstand and found the Gideon Bible he knew would be there, and carefully researched the verses the tract had referenced. He was not familiar with God's Word, and was grateful to have a copy readily available to him for just this purpose. After satisfying himself that all the verses listed in the Gospel tract were real, and feeling as if he had reached a point of decision in his life, he then fell to his knees and, at that very moment, ended his old life and began a brand new one in Christ.
The following years of Dan's life were a whirlwind of joy and struggle. He became a minister of the Gospel and was invited to city after city, country after country, to share his love for the Lord and the miraculous way in which the Lord had changed him. Time after time, as Dan shared his message, people would come to him and say, "That's amazing! You know, I was in that same city, took a wrong turn, and stopped in front of a house to ask directions. An old man was working in a flower bed and gave me a Gospel tract."
Each story was different, and yet each story told how people from all over the globe, people who had for many different reasons come to that city, had found themselves drawn to a narrow residential street where an old man worked in his yard.
Some time later, Dan returned to the city where his new life had begun. But this time he was there to preach a revival in a local church. Remembering the old man who had given him the tract, he made his way back to the tiny white house. Seeing no one outside, he knocked on the door. A slow shuffle of feet could be heard, and finally the door cracked open.
"Sir, you probably don't remember me," Dan began, "but you gave me a Gospel tract several years ago, and I wanted you to know that it's because of your faithful witness that I now stand here before you as a minister ofthe Gospel of Jesus Christ."
The old man swung the door open wide, revealing a metal walker before his bent and feeble body. "Come in, come in," he told Dan as the tears streamed down both their faces. Dan followed him into a tiny living room.
"Praise God, praise God!" The elderly gentleman's voice shook with age and emotion. "All these years I wondered if I was making a difference. You see, my wife -she's gone now, God rest her soul -was an invalid, and I couldn't get out except to work in the yard. For her last eighteen years, I had to be here all the time, so I prayed every day for the Lord to send me people who needed to hear the Word. What a blessing to know about you, son."
"Oh, sir," Dan told him, moving to his side and taking his hand, "I've heard about you all over the world." And as Dan told of the many people who had come to know the Lord through the witness of this silver-haired believer, the man wept uncontrollably.
"Thank you, Jesus," the faithful old witness kept repeating, "I never knew. I just wanted to be faithful to my Lord!"
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out ofmy mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. J) Isaiah 55: 11, KN.
"Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2, KN.
Reprinted from The Gideon, June 2004