September 4, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Telling the story in my last blog about Kay reminded me of others whom the Lord has brought into His kingdom using me over the last 48 years that I have been a Christian. I pray that these stories will not be taken as prideful bragging, but will encourage other Christians to share their faith in different ways to bring people to Jesus. I was reading this morning in Matthew 13:23 that true believers are to be fruitful, “…some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” The fruit that God desires is people brought into His kingdom. Will your life of faith in Jesus Christ result in 30, 60 or even 100 people coming to saving faith in the Lord?
I was looking for a scripture that suited my friendship with another friend, Morris. I chose Romans 13:8-10:
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has
fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery”,
“You shall not murder”, “You shall not steal”, “You shall not bear false witness”,
“You shall not covet”, and if there is any other commandment, are all summed
up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. Love does
no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
You see, I loved Morris. I met him at his place of business when I was looking through the front windows of his showroom, salivating over the antique automobiles on display. I love old cars, I always have, especially Model A Fords! And Morris had two of them in his showroom! He came around the corner and asked, “May I help you?” That was the start of a 14 year friendship.
Morris was a Jewish used car salesman. He did not practice his religion, but he revered his grandmother, a devout Jewess, and he relied on her piety to get him into favor with God. As I got to know Morris and his wife, Ellen, I began to love this man and his wife, both in there late 60’s. Every time he took one of his Model A’s out of storage, he would stop in front of the Baptist church parsonage, give a toot on the ‘Ahoogah’ horn of the old Model A, and take me for a ride.
He kept a small notebook and pencil in his shirt pocket, and wrote down all the goofy jokes he heard as he made his rounds among friends and acquaintances. Then he would relate them all to me – goofy and lame – I laughed at them all!
As I got to know and love Morris, I earned his trust. He confided in me that I was the only minister he had ever really gotten to know. One of his favorite lines was, “Chip, you have the honest eyes of a used car salesman!” I think it was a compliment! Out of that trust, I earned the ‘right’ to share Christ with Morris. I remember one day I was even bold enough to say, “Morris, you need to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior! You need to have your sins forgiven!” He replied, “I know, I know. But I can’t give up my grandmothers religion!”
I came home and wrote him a long letter. In it I explained that he would not be giving up his grandmother’s religion if he accepted Jesus as his Savior. He would be fulfilling it! “Jesus,” I wrote, “was Jewish, and Christianity came out of – was built upon – the Jewish religion.”
Once a year we had a special Sunday evening service in our Baptist church inviting all the other ministers and laity of all faiths to attend. And attend they did! Every year a roll call was taken of the faiths represented. When the Jewish religion was called, one man who had attended the event for years stood up. I invited Morris and Charlie, and they came. When the Jewish religion was called, three stood up! And the congregation gasped to see Morris in a Protestant church for the first time!
I moved away, being called to another church on the other end of Pennsylvania – over 200 miles away. I remember asking God with tears in my eyes, “Lord, who is going to take care of Morris when I move? How is he ever going to come to faith in Jesus?” But we stayed in touch, and I visited him as often as I could.
For a tough old business man, Morris had a heart of gold. I sat in his office one day and told him that my daughter was going to have a baby. He didn’t say anything but began to write on something behind the desk. He then tore out a check for $200, handed it too me, and asked, “Is this enough?” Another time I walked across the state of Pennsylvania with my dog, Kinky – yes, Kinky, but that is another story! – to raise money for Baptist missions. Morris sponsored this Baptist pastor for $100, a Jewish man contributing to a Baptist ministry!
I will have to finish my story about Morris in the next blog. Don’t miss it, because it is well worth reading!