by Tom Crenshaw, 6/6/22.
Yesterday was Mission Sunday in our church.
I had the privilege of introducing the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a ministry that is very near and dear to my heart.
As part of our service, we had a local college and a high school athlete share their testimonies of how the FCA had impacted their lives.
In the course of introducing them on the stage, it dawned on me that it was my 60thanniversary. No, I hadn’t forgotten my wife and our wedding anniversary; it was something even more important than that. It was my “new birth” anniversary. You see as I was introducing these two students, I was suddenly reminded that it was 60 years ago-almost to the very day- that I was in Lake Geneva, Wisc. attending an FCA summer conference where I committed my life to Christ after hearing noted track star Jessie Owens share his faith.
I thought back to that conference and my friend Chuck Beale whose persistent witness resulted in my being at that conference.
As a part of the football team at Virginia Military Institute, we had become friends.
Almost daily Chuck had witnessed to me. He continually would bring up his experience attending an FCA summer conference, and he was persistent in wanting me to attend a conference as well. I don’t know how many times he asked me to attend, but I had no interest in giving up part of my summer vacation to travel 2000 miles to attend such a conference.
However, Chuck’s enthusiasm finally wore me down, and I gave in and said yes- more out of my effort to avoid finding excuses why not to attend than really desiring to go.
In introducing our two FCA speakers, I became aware that I might never have been in church introducing these two young people, had it not been for Chuck’s persistent witness.
In thinking about those who were saved in the Bible, we tend to think of those miraculous conversions. Peter preached and 3000 were instantaneously saved. Phillip stopped a man in a chariot and not only was the man immediately saved, but they stopped to have a roadside baptism service. The Philippian jailor was saved in an instant as he cried out, “What must ZI do to be saved?”
But most conversions don’t happen like that. They happen because someone was lovingly and persistent enough to “keep on keeping on.” Slow and steady wins the race, and that is the key to success in any endeavor, but especially in the spiritual realm.
Don’t give up. Be persistent like Chuck was. Don’t become discouraged. Pray and pray for that individual you desire to see saved. Find ways to love him/her and show them how much you care.
Galatians reminds us not to “grow weary in well doing.” “I’m sowing seed, but I see no fruit.” Hang in their dear saint. The promise is “you will reap in due season if you don’t give up” (Galatians 6:9).
I wonder where I would be today if Chuck had given up on me.
Remember, “The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like thy can’t be done.” Arnold Palmer
As Winston Churchill reminds us “Never give up, never, never, never!”
And that goes for witnessing.