I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. —2 Timothy 1:5
About three months before Russ Rogers’ death, I visited with Russ, Lois, and Russ’s son Robert. Robert, who was reared under the influence of two generations of agnostics (his mother was into New Age stuff), was sharing how he had accepted Christ two weeks before this time as a result of the radical change Christ brought to his dad’s and grandfather’s lives. It was refreshing to talk with him and Russ about who Jesus is and the paradox of submitting our lives to his control and leadership. We talked about Jesus’ statement that the only way to really find life is to lose one’s life. Such a commitment is awesome. It was encouraging to hear Russ share his commitment to Christ. Even though he was losing the battle against cancer, his faith and trust were growing.
During our conversation, when Russ was sharing his concerns about the pain and feeling like the cancer was taking over his body, Robert reached out and placed his hand on his dad’s hand. Russ said, “Robert, that big hand on mine feels great.” It was a demonstration of love and compassion from a son to a father. It was inspiring to see a son and father who came to Christ out of a tumultuous past expressing deep love for one another after years of strained relationships—a demonstration of the reconciling power of the love of Christ. It was graphic portrayal of the potency of intercessory prayer. Reflecting on this demonstration of the unconditional love, unlimited grace, and unending life transforming power of God, I thought, “But isn’t it a bit sad that Fred and Russ waited until the end of their lives to receive Christ. Wouldn’t it have been so much better if they had made the decision back when we first met many years ago?” A still, small voice—a gentle whisper— in the deep inner recesses of my spirit said, “But just think! We’ll have all eternity to celebrate with them!” And I understood: it’s the quality of life, not the quantity of time, that’s important; and I could rest in that truth.
I was privileged to witness that day a live model of Paul’s thrilling comments to Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Tim 1:5). The biblical pattern is the good news handed from generation to generation: Grandpa Fred; dad Russ, and son Robert. The message is: Do not give up when you are praying for someone and the answers are not immediate. God always hears our prayers, and he is always at work with the answers. We simply wait for his timing and resources. The stories of radical transformation of people who have basically turned their backs on God remind me of the ministry mandates our Lord gave us in the Great Commission. In summary, we have a lost world that is broken, hurting, dying, and separated from God. There’s a loving Savior who died on a cross to reconcile a lost world to God and to bring salvation and healing to men and women, boys and girls. We need living witnesses to bring together a loving Savior and a lost world in reconciliation and peace. We need liberal partners—generous people—to invest in various ways to empower the continuing ministries of God’s people in creating lasting legacies for men and women, girls and boys, who come to Jesus and receive life—abundant and eternal.
Energize us, Lord, to be Liberal Partners who empower Living Witnesses to connect a Loving Savior with a Lost World to create Lasting Legacies for people to come to Jesus and receive life – abundant and eternal. Enable us, Lord, to join you in Transforming Hearts…Transforming Lives…and to never give up on those who seem hopelessly lost! Amen.
Dr. Sam Bruce; President, Sam & Sandie Bruce Ministries; Pastor, Hope Point Church, Pearl, Mississippi; Online Instructor, Mid-America Christian University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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