There was once a boy, around sixteen years of age. After a prolonged illness, he was informed by his family doctor that he likely had only six weeks to live. Understandably troubled by the news of his impending death, the boy went for a walk around the town where he lived. As he walked by a coffee shop, he saw a sign announcing a weeklong series of meetings presented by two Adventist evangelists. The headline for first night’s presentation promised to explain “where the dead go after they die.” In light of his recent diagnosis, the boy thought this was something he should attend. Since his family already had a familiarity with things of faith, the boy asked his father for permission to attend the first night’s meeting. His father, a dedicated Methodist preacher, reluctantly gave permission for the boy to attend, figuring that he was going to die soon anyway.
Night after night, the boy sat through the evangelistic meetings, absorbing each evening’s topic, and ultimately responding to a call to accept the Sabbath. Though his grandfather and father, both preachers, tried to talk him out of it, the boy knew that what he had heard was Truth. Remarkably, when his father saw that it was no use to convince the boy otherwise, he offered to help the boy try to keep the Sabbath.
The response to these evangelistic meetings was tepid at best. The boy’s response to the Sabbath was the lone response of the week, and the story goes that the meetings were ultimately considered a failure by the sponsoring conference. The expensive tent meetings had produced just one response.
But what a response it was. That lone answer to the call of God was none other H.M.J. Richards, father of successful evangelist H.M.S. Richards, Sr., who baptized untold thousands of people over the course of his long career in ministry. At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Elder Richards’ father made a decision which would ultimately go on to change the course of history for his family, as well as countless other people through his public evangelism and radio ministries. God took the “one” and applied a divine multiplier in the life of H.M.J. Richards.
I believe that Jesus is coming soon. I also read that we have the privilege of partner with God in bringing the Gospel message to the world as mentioned in the Great Commission of Matthew 28. It’s my hope and prayer that God will continue to use our church and its members to spread the good news of the Gospel into our community and beyond. After all, every need met, every Bible study, every baptism, and every conversion story has to start somewhere by a person who’s taken action. Will you be the one?