“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a brief introduction of his childhood friend.
With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak, “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast, when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright; and the three were swept into the ocean.”
The elderly man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.
He continued, “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life… to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves.
The father yelled out, “I love you, son!”, as he threw the line to his son’s friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.”
By this time the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man’s mouth.
“The father,” the old man continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, but he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us.”
With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the church. Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side.
“That was a nice story,” politely stated one of the boys, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”
“Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see…I was the son’s friend.” Wow!
LIFE LESSON: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” I John 3:16
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, let’s not forget to say, “Thank you God, the Father.”
Happy Thanksgiving, we serve an awesome God!
As you start to think and pray about your year-end giving please keep Growing in Grace Ministries in mind. Thank you for your prayers and faithfulness and may God continue to bless you and this ministry.
Check out our landing page www.thegalatianroad.com. Note that all our materials are now available worldwide and can be downloaded and printed for use.