Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Evangelistic Encounters ["Follow-Up"]: 8/4/07

The longest job that I've had so far was five years as a grocery stock clerk at Publix Supermarkets from July 2000 to August 2005. During this time, I realized that if I am to be a career missionary (for which career I am currently in training at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), I must already consider myself to be a missionary in whatever situation the Lord has me. I wish I could say that I kept this mindset at all times, that I constantly kept the eternal spiritual condition of my co-workers in view, and that I used every break at work to speak to my co-workers in a way that glorified God, but this is not the case. There were many break times when I spoke to others concerning matters of no consequence at all (such as movie or music preferences), or when I simply wanted to eat alone rather than speak to anyone. However, the Lord did bless me with the resolve to speak to all members on my grocery teams concerning the Gospel, and he gave me success in this regard. When I say "success," I mean success in the sense of having opportunities to clearly speak of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, I saw very little fruit from my witness. Only three people I know of made professions of faith in Christ in relation to me speaking with them about the Gospel, and I never saw any fruit at all from one of these professions.

The most encouraging witnessing opportunity came from my friendship with a co-worker named Rodson Philogene. Rodson had been influenced by the teaching of Jehovah's Witnesses and did not believe in the deity of Christ- he genuinely believed that the Bible taught that Jesus is a lesser being to God the Father. Over a period of time, I was able to demonstrate from the Scriptures how Jesus Christ and His Father are one God. Being convinced of this truth, I began to press Rodson with the Gospel call- that if Jesus is who the Bible claims, one must submit to His will and trust in Him alone for salvation. I pleaded with Rodson to call out to God for mercy- for forgiveness of sins based on the perfect life, atoning death, and resurrection of Jesus. In the break room of Publix one day, Rodson prayed to the Lord, confessing his sins and asking forgiveness through Jesus. Shortly afterward, I gave him a copy of John Piper's book, The Passion of Jesus Christ, which he received thankfully and read voraciously.

Sometime after this, I moved to Woodstock, Georgia and transferred to the Publix in Canton, which was nearby. (I had worked with Rodson at the Publix in Powder Springs, Georgia.) I began working on my Master's degree and trying to provide a witness to my classmates at Georgia State University as well as my co-workers at Publix. Abby and I were married, we moved to Auburn, Alabama, and after one year we moved to Louisville, Kentucky. During all of these transitions, I lost touch with Rodson.

Last Saturday, Abby and I were back in Georgia visiting our families. Driving from Abby's parents home to my parents home, I passed by the old Publix where I used to work, so I decided to stop in and see if any of my old co-workers were still there. The only stock clerk that I knew who was working at the time I went by was Rodson (though a couple of others I knew were on break). I stopped by and spoke with Rodson for awhile. He kept saying how glad he was to see me, and I was genuinely glad to see him as well. Rodson is now married with a baby son named Ralph. Rodson told me he is doing well spiritually and is in the process of preparing for baptism through his church. I was glad to hear that Rodson is going to be baptized, but somewhat concerned that he has waited so long to do so.

Please join me in continuing to pray for Rodson, that he would be a true disciple of the Lord and a witness to his co-workers.

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