But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:14 KJV)
There is an old saying that says that you can always tell when a person is getting older because they only want to talk about their past. This would of course imply that there is nothing happening in their present life worth talking about. I might agree with a part of that but certainly not all of it.
There are plenty of things happening in my own life today worth talking aboutâ€¦and I do. As a matter of fact, the presence of God and His revelatory teaching to me is more powerful today than before. I can hardly wait to wake up in the morning and listen to his sweet voice giving me daily direction. I also can hardly wait to go to bed at night so He can speak to me through dreams and night visions.
Having said all of thatâ€¦ a couple of days ago the Lord called something to my remembrance that is worth sharing with others. What He brought to my remembrance was certainly an encouragement to me and hopefully it will also be to you. It has to do with how God started working in my life at a very early age.
When I was six years old we lived on a little farm in a community called Jersey Village. There were several small farms and businesses scattered around the dairy farm and store which was the center piece of our community.
In those days most people either rode buses and trains, or they walked, because they couldnâ€™t afford cars and gas. This was of course during World War II when most things were rationed.
One day a traveling preacher set up a gospel tent and began holding revival meetings not far from where I lived.
I was strangely drawn to those meetings even though I had not been invited. I would leave home after dark and walk down the dirt road and across the highway to where the tent was set up. I was a very shy, bashful little boy so I never went into the tent. Instead I walked back and forth and up and down the road in front of it. Even though I didnâ€™t understand what the preacher was saying, I felt good. The thing that seemed to get to me the most was the invitation song. It still has the same heart warming impact in my soul today as it did back then. â€śOh Why Not Tonight Will Thou Be Saved, Oh Why Not Tonight?â€ť
Little did the tent preacher know that his greatest influence was not on the twelve or fifteen people sitting in his service on those make shift benches, but in the heart of a little six year old barefoot boy walking back and forth in the dark in front of his tent.
Itâ€™s been many years since those tent meetings, but the same Holy Spirit that strangely drew me out into the darkness to go listen to a tent preacher with an invitation song called, â€śOh Why Not Tonight,â€ť has become my very best friend.
A fatherâ€™s influence comes in many different ways. Without knowing it, an ordinary little tent preacher had a fatherly influence on my life. His influence would one day help shape my own commitment to God and my preaching the gospel.
My prayer is that I too might have the same influence on some other little bashful six year old barefoot boy, as the tent preacher had on me.
I thank you for â€śdrawingâ€ť me through the faithfulness of the tent preacher. Even though he may have never preached the gospel more than just a few miles from where he lived, he was still influential. Father, only you know the effect of our ministry. I pray I will always be a faithful extension of the tent preacherâ€™s ministry, although we never met.
Father I too want to have an influence on some other little barefoot six year old boy that you strangely draw to hear me. â€śOh Why Not Tonightâ€ť.
Apostle John Dean Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved
Alliance International Ministries