When I see this picture of Pete “hitchhiking” to the top of Mount Arbel in Israel, I’m reminded of the story of another hitchhiker.
He was a young man. The day after he graduated high school, he left his small town and family and headed to the big city where he got a job and enjoyed all the new freedom the big city offered.
Every so often, he’d hitchhike home, a walk of over 200 miles. It was a difficult journey. His feet would hurt and depending on the time of year, he would either be shivering in the cold or ready to pass out from the heat. On one of his trips he was offered a ride from an old man. He’d barely took his place in the car when the old man told him he was a preacher. If he thinks he’s going to convince me of anything, he’s a crazy fool, the young man said to himself. But the old preacher man shared many of the same verses that we share when we minister the Gospel with The Fellowship of Christian Farmers.
When the man quoted Romans 3:23, For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, the young man agreed. “Ya, I know I’m a sinner.” But as the preacher continued, the young man grew more and more uncomfortable. “Sure, I know I’m going to hell,” he said. “Don’t waste your time on me. Just let me out of this car right now.”
Pulling over to the side of the road, the preacher did as asked. As he drove away, I can almost see him looking into his rearview mirror and waving to the long-haired hitchhiker standing alone on the side of the road. I can almost hear his whispered prayer. Get a grip on that boy, Father. One day may he repent of his sin and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to be his Savior.
The young man often told the story of the crazy old preacher who had picked him up. In fact, it gave him and his friends many good laughs. What no one knew was that the old man’s words kept playing in his mind.
Over and over.
“For all have sinned…the wages of sin is death…the gift of God is eternal life…for by grace you have been saved through faith…the Lord laid your sin on Jesus…eternal life, a gift from God.”
About five years later the old preacher’s prayer was answered. The young man came to the end of himself, he repented and asked Jesus Christ into his heart.
Who was that old preacher? Only God knows.
Who was the young man? Let me show you his picture.
You might ask what this story has to do with sanctuaries being closed on Easter Sunday.
The picture above is not a picture of the church. It’s a picture of a church building.
We are the Church.
When Pete sat down in that old preacher’s car, he sat down next to the church–next to the Lord’s sanctuary. First Corinthians 3:16-17 makes it clear:
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
When the church building’s doors are locked and its sanctuary is empty, the Church is still the Church. The Church still worships. The Church still goes about its mission to win souls and glorify Him.
The Church still celebrates Easter.
Likewise, those of us with The Fellowship of Christian Farmers, continue to minister. Despite the fact that, for a short time, our events have been cancelled, our mission to tell others about Jesus goes on. We might not be setting up tents, but we are sharing. We are handing out walking sticks to those who will stop and listen, even if it is from a safe distance. We are praying and planning for the day when the tents go up once again.
During this time, we continue to need your help. Thank you to those who so generously support the ministry. We are grateful.
Please join us along our road this month by:
1) Praying for the hundreds who recently received Christ as their Lord and Savior at one of the Fellowship of Christian Farmer events. Pray for their growth during this difficult time of locked church doors. Pray that the Church will reach out, encourage, and support them.
2) Pray that the Lord will continue to prepare us to be His sanctuary and for Pete and me to be alert and obedient to the Holy Spirit’s voice. May we grab hold of every opportunity He gives us to share the colored bead story in this time of quarantine when so many find themselves in despair.
3) If you are able, click on our giving page and pray about giving. Any gift, no matter the size will be appreciated during this time of need. All gifts are tax deductible.
We love you. Have a blessed Easter. And don’t forget YOU too are His Sanctuary!