By LEON YOUNGBLOOD
I took liberties with editing, but here is another installment of illustrations for Christian living, drawn from various sources predating this century:
A CONVERSION STORY – A little girl was asked by the church committee as to her knowledge of Jesus Christ, and asked about her conversion experience. “I do not know if I have any ‘experience’,” the child testified honestly. “All I know is that Jesus said, ‘Come unto Me,’ and I came, and He said ‘I will give you rest,’ and He did.”
One of the old examiners, an over-weight gasbag of a self-righteous deacon, said, “My child, you don’t seem to know much about the depths of sinfulness, the slough of despondency, or the wretchedness of the human condition. From what sins did you repent?”
“I’m sorry,” the little girl answered, “but I didn’t come to Christ down the same road you did.”
BEGIN WITH THE BOY – This is attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: “If you are ever going to do anything permanent for the average man, you must begin before he is a man. The chance of success lies in working with the boy—not the man. That applies peculiarly to those boys who tend to drift off into courses which mean that unless they are checked they will be formidable additions to the criminal population when they grow older.”
This doubtless applies to girls, too.
And as long as we’re quoting, let’s haul out this one from E. H. Blake in The Missionary Worker: “In the Christian life we must lose to gain; we must give to obtain; we must be last to be first; we must be humble to be exalted; we must be least to be greatest; we must die to live.”—which quote will be followed by NOT AFTER THE PATTERN, as published in the Sunday School Chronicle: “A Salvation Army captain was preaching in Hyde Park when a man in the crowd interrupted him. ‘We haven’t anything agin’ Jesus of Nazareth,’ said the interrupter, ‘but we have somethin’ agin’ you Christians ‘cause you ain’t up to ‘sample.’”
However, we must suspect the heckler’s doubts were based upon his perceptions. Was he a legalist? Or did he believe in Grace?
OMNIPRESENT – One day the telephone in the office of the rector of President Roosevelt’s Washington church rang, and an eager voice said, “Tell me, do you expect the President to be in church this Sunday?”
“That,” the rector explained patiently, “I cannot promise. But we expect God to be there, and we fancy that will be incentive enough for a reasonably large attendance.”
That one came from an old Readers’ Digest! They do not reflect the humble Christian background and beliefs of America, much, anymore. Cancel your subscription, and get one for the Heavener Ledger.
WHY HE WENT TO CHURCH – An aged Negro who was a faithful church-goer was urged by his friends one cold, rainy day to stay at home, lest his rheumatism should become worse. But the old Negro answered, “But I must go. Who knows but de blessin’ may come today, an’ I don’t want to miss it!”—from the magazine War Cry.
PREACHERS (This is the youngest, at 40 or so years old.) – “The preachers around here all have their merits, but it’s based on pulpit personalities. There’s the ‘yeller/bellow’ fellow. He attracts those who believe faith consists in who can denounce the general immorality the loudest. Then there’s the ‘know-it-all’ dictator. It’s simple. If you don’t agree with him, you’re reprobate at best, darned at worst. Then there’s the young one, whose congregation thinks they’re bringing him up and nurturing him in the way he ought to be led, with a hook in his nose. Then there’s the ‘eschatologist’ who knows every detail of the last days down to the moment of Christ’s return. He draws the biggest collections. Then, there’s the humble preacher with an education . . .”
Let’s leave it here.
However, if this is new to you, and you genuinely want to know about the Christian faith, go to the dollar store and get a Bible. Use the table of contents and find the book of Mark. Read it. That will give you the short version of the Gospel narrative. Then read John. This book will introduce you to the depth. Then, read Matthew (written for a Jewish audience), then Luke and Acts.
The next step—well, trust God to lead you from there.
(Leon Youngblood is a resident of Texas, but says his heart belongs in Briar Circle, a small community near Cedar Lake. He can be reached at [email protected])
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