A couple of months ago, a longtime patient at our dental practice passed from this life. He was a retired pastor, director of missions, and had worked for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. He was always asking me about my service through WMU. He understood our work and always encouraged me and prayed specifically for me as he would inquire about my upcoming assignments each visit to the dental office. It was always an uplifting hour of my day when he came for his dental checkup. Some would say, we had church every time.
Knowing he was a believer, we had never talked about his salvation experience. Just last week, his wife was in for her checkup. Since I was unable to attend visitation, I expressed my deepest sympathy and shared with her just how much her husband had meant to me, personally. Being a prayer warrior for me herself, we too had a precious time together. I marveled at how he loved the Lord and served Him faithfully.
It was then she mentioned he was not brought up going to church. Since I had never heard his experience, I was intrigued. She said he was 18 years old and a senior in high school when, walking to the local pool hall, a fellow football player, the quarterback, picked him up to give him a ride. When the quarterback headed in the opposite direction from the pool hall, my patient asked where they were going. It wasn’t long before they pulled into the church parking lot. The quarterback told him he didn’t have to stay, but he was going to church that night.
My patient decided to go inside with him. It was a Wednesday night which is not typically evangelistic but the pastor, seeing some young boys in the audience and listening to the Lord, preached an evangelistic sermon. That night my patient and some more boys were saved.
My patient started reading the Bible every day. He would go up on Black Mountain and read it out loud. His dad noticed the radical change in his life so it wasn’t long before he was saved as well.
Two of the boys saved that Wednesday night became preachers, one of which was my patient—who led many to a saving faith in Jesus throughout the years—all because one 18-year-old picked up another 18-year-old and drove him to church. The quarterback now lives in California. As a grateful family, they kept in touch periodically throughout his 89 years.
As time was drawing nigh, hospice was called in as he slipped into a coma. The family sang hymns and read Scripture to him. On a Wednesday, with his two daughters by his side, his eyes opened again and he smiled the biggest smile as he breathed his last. I believe he saw Jesus and heard, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”
I pray you are inviting others—maybe even driving them to church—and also sharing Christ yourself. You never know whom God is calling to serve Him and you can be a part . . . On the Journey.
Written by Linda Cooper