Echoes From the Campfire

We all have debts to people of the past.  We cannot go back to those people, so our debts we pay to people who live now.  Somewhere, there is a bookkeeper.”
              –Elmer Kelton  (The Way of the Coyote)

    “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
              –Revelation 20:15(NKJV)
How many lives did Billy Graham touch for the Lord?  Only eternity will reveal that to us.  How many lives will you and I touch for the Lord?  It seems so small, maybe in comparison to Billy Graham, but all we are required to do is obey and use our gifts and talents for Him.  I recall the words from an old song,

         “If just a cup of water I place within your hand
          Then just a cup of water is all that I demand…”
                  –Ira F. Stanphill

Whatever God has placed within our hands He expects us to use.  Remember the story of Jesus in Matthew 25 about the master handing the talents to the servants.  Remember how they were used, or not used, and the result.
    There are two stories I would like to pass on.  One is about the wonderful Christian businessman, John Wanamaker.  In his younger life he wanted to be a missionary.  (Hmmm, back then all the youth were supposed to be preachers or missionaries.)  He kept seeking God to call him to the mission field, but the Lord said “No.”  Wanamaker accepted the answer from the Lord and was led to become a very successful department store owner, who by the end of his life was supporting ninety full-time missionaries.  In which way did he touch more people for the Lord?
    I recently read a story about a merchant in the times of the early church.  The story goes something like this, told by the hermit Palladius.

         “An elderly merchant named Apollonius renounced the world and moved to Mount Nitria.  Because of his age, he was not able to practice the austere way of life followed by others.  Instead, he used his own labor and resources to purchase all kinds of food and medicine in Alexandria.  He distributed these to all the monasteries, walking from door to door, looking for the sick.  He carried raisins, pomegranates, eggs, and wheat flour.  This was his unique ministry for Christ in his old age.  As he neared death, he turned over all of his supplies to another, asking him to take care of the five thousand monks living on the mountain.  Without this attention, many would not survive in such a desolate place.”  (Bernard Bangley, By Way of the Desert)

I like the term in the above passage, “his unique ministry.”  All of us have some type of ministry.  It may change throughout life, but there is always something we can be doing for the Lord and His kingdom.  Maybe it is to give a cup of cool water to someone along the way.  Maybe it is just to keep a smile and say “good morning” to those you meet for you don’t know what they’re going through and that smile might just be the thing to get them through the day.  Perhaps you may be called to get behind a pulpit and proclaim, “the Bible says…”  Whatever it is, reach out to fulfill what the Lord requires of you.