Published February 8, 2011

Paul's Epistle...
"Passing the Faith Along"

A lesson I learned long ago – and continue to relearn – is that if you are faithful to share the Gospel, God will use it. For me, it's primarily (not exclusively) through The Gospel Greats broadcast each week. Testimonies from listeners about how they have been touched through someone or something that was heard on the program are always most encouraging.

Recently I received such a testimony from a missionary serving in Southern Asia who hears our broadcast via the internet. (I'll withhold her name for security concerns.) Here's her story:

"Shonkar, our Hindu house helper here in South Asia, asked the Lord to save him Tuesday morning! We have been rejoicing ever since! I want to share the story to encourage you because you played a role in this new birth! We have prayed for him and witnessed to him for almost two years, but the Holy Spirit's timing had not come until Tuesday morning, January 25, 2011. I know Shonkar does not understand everything, but I sincerely believe he understands that first step!

"I had felt especially burdened lately and been praying so hard for him. I did not want to get ahead of the Holy Spirit's work. I was here in the office, working on the computer, listening to ‘The Lighthouse' on The Gospel Greats program. I started crying with joy thinking that ‘if it wasn't for that old lighthouse, where would this ship be?' That song has always had special meaning for me.

"Shonkar came into the room, and I told him I was crying because it makes me happy that Jesus loves me and that song told me He loves me. I asked him, did he realize Jesus loves him? And he started crying. I told him that when we go back to America we won't ever see him and his family again unless they ask Jesus to save them and we can see them in Heaven. I asked him to sit down and talk with me. It took him awhile to compose himself and be able to talk. I explained as best as I could about how to accept the free gift.

"Bottom line, he prayed with me to ask Jesus to come into his heart! Friday (Holy Day here) he and his family came to our national house church. Please pray he will be baptized and that his wife and daughter and other family members will make the same decision.

"This is a perfect example of how God uses the gospel message in song to reach the lost. Thank you for your ministry making it possible to hear southern gospel music. May the Lord bless and continue to use you to His glory!"

Praise God for this testimony!

Interestingly, I played "The Lighthouse" on that program heard by that missionary and by Shonkar (sung by the Happy Goodman Family) as the result of a listener request. That Minnesota listener said the song, which she remembered from childhood, came back to her to encourage her through a time when her husband left her for several months. He and she have since been reconciled and abundantly blessed in their reunion.

Look at that chain of events:  This Minnesota listener remembered the song, which blessed her. She asked me to play it on the air, which I did. Because I played it on the broadcast, the door was opened for someone in South Asia to accept Christ.

That reminds me of Paul's observation in 1 Corinthians 3:6. He had planted the seed of the Gospel in lives, another had "watered" that seed, but it was God Who gave the increase. We're all in this together – playing different roles but ultimately with the same goal in mind, that of winning souls to Christ. And our efforts are necessarily interrelated and even codependent, as co-workers with, in and for Christ.

You and I – as Christians – are part of a chain that goes all the way back to the Apostles. Christ commissioned them to share the Gospel everywhere they went. That faith has been handed down generation to generation – and finally to you and to me. It is our job – our commission, our responsibility – to share it with others.

Almost three decades ago, Jon Mohr, then a member of the new Gaither Vocal Band, recalled an especially meaningful church service he attended: "This particular service developed into a series of testimonies. One person after another stood to their feet and shared how God was moving and working in their lives. As all of this was going on, something very interesting was taking place. By simply telling us of their experiences, each one who spoke gave to each of us listening a portion of the faith God had developed in them through that experience. By the end of the service, no one who had given of their faith had any less, but all who had heard were made stronger."**

That experience — which reminded Jon of a relay runner passing the torch along to the next runner — inspired him to write a song that became very popular for the Gaither Vocal Band and which included these lyrics:

Countless generations of saints have come and gone
A spark ignites as an ember fades, and the flame continues on.
A challenge to the young and assurance for the old
The faith burns ever brighter each time our story's told.

That's the challenge to each of us every day – to help build the faith of another, to share a word of hope and to pass the faith along to another. With the Lord's help, let's not falter in that responsibility.

- Paul

PS:  This must be an especially timely topic. Unknown in advance to me, Shelia wrote about the same general theme (see her column below).

*"Passin' The Faith Along," Jon Mohr, Jonathan Mark Music ASCAP, Copyright 1983
**From album liner notes.

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