My wife, Dorothy and I have been reading a delightful book full of wisdom and colored with an Australian sense of humor by Australian missionary Ross R. Remington entitled ‘The Stolen Cow (& 99 Other Stories).’
In one of his stories, he tells of his conversion. His life had, up to that point, been one of drugs, drink, motorbikes, stealing, and breaking the law. In the midst of all his, he was invited to an evangelistic meeting organized by the local Bible College. He records it this way, ‘As I found my seat in the tent meeting, people didn’t seem to want to sit too close to me. I can’t say I blamed them. I had wild looking hair, a leather jacket and motorbike grease on my jeans. When the preacher Ralph Reed gave the appeal, I knew that was what I wanted and ran down to the front with chairs falling over in my wake.’
Later on, he goes on to record what happened from the perspective of one of the Bible College students Paul Newsham, who was there that night and later become his friend.
“At the end of the semester, the Bible College principal told the students that they were going to hold evangelistic meetings for two weeks in a tent. The students were not thrilled about this, as they were in the middle of completing assignments and preparing for the end of term exams. Added to this, it rained every night for the two-week campaign. They may not have minded so much, if others, besides the faculty and students, had attended these meetings.
“Towards the end of the campaign, a young man walked in who was obviously not a Christian. As the young man, with the long wild looking hair, leather jacket and motorbike grease all over his jeans, responded to the altar call, Paul thought, ‘We held meetings for two weeks for this? One person. Was it really worth it?'”
That is a question that is often asked. In this case, it was worth it, for that young lad eventually entered the ministry and after serving in Australia has spent approximately thirty-five years as a missionary in Asia, the last fourteen years in China. Through his ministry, who knows how many people have become believers in Jesus. One person is always important. Sometimes you do not know what God has in mind for that one person.
JESUS AND THE ONE
Jesus himself showed us how important one person is to God. In Luke 15, Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep, how a man who had one hundred sheep lost one. What did he do? He left the ninety-nine (probably in the safety of the sheepfold) and went out into the wilderness to look for the one sheep that was lost. He finds it, and then he puts it on his shoulders and brings it home rejoicing and declaring, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.” The implication is that the one sheep was important. It was precious to him and so are individual people to the Lord, the good shepherd. Individuals are important to God.
JUST ONE PERSON RESPONDED
Ross Remington’s testimony reminded me of a similar experience. Back in the early days of the Charismatic Renewal in the 1970’s, there was a wonderful church in Sydney, called Faith Center, pastored by Pastor Paul Collins. They normally had a church service on Sunday mornings and then in the afternoons another service that reached out to people from other churches. For a short season, they tried to add an evening service with an evangelistic emphasis. On one of those nights, I was invited to speak. At the end of the message, I gave an altar call, and one young man, sitting in the middle of the church, raised his hand to indicate he wanted to ask Jesus into his life. One, just one and no more.
I never saw that young man again, because I was just a visiting speaker, but years later, after I had moved to America, I returned on a trip to Australia. While at a leadership conference there, a young man came up to me and said, “Do you remember preaching at Faith Center one Sunday night way back years ago?” “Yes, I sure do!” “Well,” he said, “I was the one who raised my hand to pray for salvation.” I went on to discover that the one person that had responded that night was now in full-time ministry serving the Lord.
You never know what plans and purposes God may have for one such person that you touch in some way for Jesus. Individuals are important. They are precious and they each have a place in the purposes of God.
One person, just one alone. Individuals are important to God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR OF ‘THE STOLEN COW’
Ross Remington has had over 40 years of ministry experience, including 33 years as a missionary, to draw from in writing this book. His wisdom and unique sense of humor have enabled him to produce an entertaining book full of cross-cultural insights, missiological perspectives, as well as meaningful lessons for everyday life and ministry. This book chronicles a journey of faith using compelling stories as milestones. There is a continuous thread of Aussie humor woven through the pages of this book that will have you laughing out loud, and then you will be hit right between the eyes with perspectives that will challenge conventional assumptions about Christian life and ministry.
In 2017, Ross ministered in our church in Chaska, MN and we had a wonderful weekend together. He even began teaching the couple he stayed with how to speak Australian. Good on ya Mate!
For more information about Ross and Donna Remington and their ministry or how to purchase this delightful book, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org