CHESNEE, S.C. (BP) — Recently, while discussing the current civil unrest with a friend, I shared with her an account of a man in whose life I had the privilege of planting the seed of the Gospel. The transformation in his life was quite remarkable. Here is his story:
We will call my friend “John.” I met him in my medical office one Saturday morning. He suffered from anxiety and panic attacks after the loss of a business and a close friend by suicide. He shared with me quite frankly that he had been an outlaw all of his life. He had been in prison in multiple states. He had been married five times and was not married to the woman with whom he currently lived. He had been a gambler all of his adult life, at one time managing numerous casinos and hotels in Sparks, Nev., where, he bragged, he never had to pay for women, booze or lodging.
Nevertheless, God was at work, orchestrating the events of his life. He had recently seen an evangelistic video in a motel room that had captivated his attention. Now he was in my office listening to my testimony and a Gospel presentation.
A few days later, this lifelong gambler, womanizer and outlaw sat in my Sunday school class listening to me teach a lesson on “for by grace are you saved through faith.” That same morning, he heard an evangelistic sermon in the worship service at our rural Baptist church. Astonished, I watched John walk down the aisle of our church during the invitation.
I quickly followed and asked him, “John, are you certain this is what you want to do? Are you really wanting to give all of your life to Jesus for the rest of your life?” He smiled and responded confidently, “That’s exactly what I want to do.” He kneeled at the front pew, repented, and gave his life to Jesus that same day. Jesus gained a soul, and Satan lost a good right arm!
The next several months produced an amazing transformation in John’s life. He had been a lifelong pro-choice advocate, telling me he thought “abortion was the best thing that ever happened to women.” Suddenly, without any input from me, he became a pro-lifer and started going to pro-life rallies with our church. Shortly thereafter, he gave up working in a saloon and making money as a card shark – once again, without any suggestions from me. He then sent his girlfriend back to her home, saying, “It’s not right for us to live together like this.” Every Sunday after lunch, he would look at me and say, “Teach me something more from the Bible.” What a remarkable life transformation!
I shared this story with my friend and said, “Like Andrae Crouch used to sing, ‘Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above Him there’s no other. Jesus is the way.’ The answer for the civil unrest is for you and me to share Jesus with one person at a time, and then allow Jesus to transform their lives in the same way He changed the life of John.”
She thought about it for a moment and responded, “Sadly, I wish it were that simple.”
Ah, my friend, but it is that simple – simple and yet profound.
Simple, in that our responsibility is merely to share the Gospel message – unashamedly and unapologetically (Romans 1:16). Profound, in that the power of the Gospel message to transform lives is supernatural, mysterious and inexplicable. Unless we are convinced in our heart of hearts that Jesus is enough and that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (including complete life transformation), then we will never be the effective seed planters God has called us to be.
Trust me when I say that complicated government reforms and added layers of legislation will not solve the issues that confront our nation. It will not change the condition of a single human heart. Only Jesus can do that.
It is that simple – but only if we are convinced of the life-transforming power of the Gospel.
This article originally appeared in the Baptist Courier.