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June-July 2016


Hidden Heroes


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The World's Fastest Usher

By Gary Weaver

Shortly after my discharge from the Air Force in early 1975, my brother Russ and his wife invited me to stay with them for a month or two while I found work and a place of my own. I knew from talking with them that they were devoted Christians, so I was on guard. I knew they would try their best to convince me I needed Jesus in my life.

No way! I was young, single, and fresh out of the service, and I had a world yet to conquer. I told them so. I had no need for a boring, rigid, rule-filled life. After all, I had just gotten out of the military. I agreed to stay with them under one non-negotiable condition. “Don’t preach to me!” I told them. “I’m fine just the way I am.”

As it turns out, they had one non-negotiable condition for me as well. I had to attend at least one church service a week with them. “Call it rent,” they said. I figured I was safe so I agreed.

They kept their word and never preached to me. But I noticed their lives were far different from anyone else I had ever known. They seemed to have a purpose and a passion for something I didn’t understand. They seemed happy and fulfilled.

After a few weeks, I began to ask questions, and they patiently answered, never adding more than I asked. But my questions continued until the Easter Sunday when finally they said they wanted to ask me a question. I figured it would be something harmless, so I agreed. “Why don’t you just trust Jesus, ask Him to forgive you, and give your heart to Him?”

I was stunned. Not because it was such a difficult question, but because I didn’t have an answer. I surrendered my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ during the service that evening. I have been a Christian now for 41 years, all because they let God’s love show through their lives, and their passion for Him affected all they did.

I have watched other people throughout the years living out their love for their Lord, often greatly impacting lives along the way. Like Sister Lily. She was always there, “second row, piano side,” always with an encouraging word or smile. Or when, near the end of her life, she was concerned about the comfort of the group of teenagers I took to the hospital to cheer her up. She touched these young lives in a way no one else could.

Then there was Brother Ed, fastest usher on two feet. Always first to greet a person, meet someone at his or her car with an umbrella on a rainy day, or help a family get to the nursery or a Sunday School class. But there was a certain boldness in Ed that was second to none. He would stand in the back of the church and pray for each family, especially for visitors. Time and again, I watched him walk up to a visitor during the invitation, gently place a hand on his shoulder, and offer to go to the altar and pray with him. I can’t imagine the courage it took to do that, but I also can’t count the number of people who accepted the Lord because of Ed’s actions.

In Acts 4, Peter and John stood before the religious court, on trial for preaching a sermon about Jesus and for healing a lame man in His name. Sitting in judgment were Annas, Caiaphas, rulers, elders, and scribes. Annas and Caiaphas were the ringleaders in the persecution of Christians. Then, in verse 13 we find the following words: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled, and they took knowledge then, that they had been with Jesus.”

Peter and John were bold, powerful, and effective—not because of their education or training, not because of social, economic, or political standing, and not because of local notoriety—but because they “had been with Jesus.” They knew Him personally. They had experienced His love firsthand in their lives. They had seen His compassion and forgiveness, and they had witnessed His miracles.

My brother Russ, sister Lily, and brother Ed may have appeared “unschooled and ordinary,” but they had been with Jesus, and they were bold. Ministering to others should not be left solely to those we choose as pastors or missionaries; it must be something that each of us allows to flow through us. Because we, too, have “been with Jesus.”

About the Writer: Gary Weaver is a vocational educator, ordained deacon, and member of the Elevate Church in Moore, Oklahoma.





©2016 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists