Getting People to the Feet of Jesus?
My motto has always been: “If it is not illegal, immoral, or unethical – I will try it to win people to Jesus!”
That’s why I love the story told in three of the four Gospels. Jesus was returning to Capernaum. The fact that He was returning means He had been there before. So the people of that area knew about Him and a large group went to see Him at the house where He was staying (Mark 2:1-12).
Four friends had heard that Jesus was back and they knew a man who desperately needed His help. But this man couldn’t make it to Jesus without some assistance. So these guys put their friend on a mat and carried him to the house where Jesus was.
Can you imagine what they felt like when they rounded the corner and saw that “many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door?” Their Plan A was to take their friend right through the front door to the feet of Jesus. But now they had to come up with a Plan B.
Just imagine these four guys sitting down and talking about what they should do. Giving up was not an option! One of them came up with this crazy idea: take the stairs to the roof, cut a hole in the roof (that didn’t belong to them!), and lower the friend down to the feet of Jesus. Remember, they hadn’t planned to do it this way. Perhaps they had to run out to gather tools and some rope before they could put Plan B into action.
Verse five is an awesome verse, and it is the only time you will read the exact phrase. It says: “When Jesus saw their faith…” Every other time you see this kind of phrase, it states that Jesus saw his or her faith. But when Jesus saw them putting Plan B into action, doing something out of the ordinary and extreme to get their friend to the feet of Jesus, He saw their faith. And He healed the man and forgave his sins.
When Plan B is Necessary
I’ve recently stepped out of the full-time youth pastorate to do full-time ministry reaching young people through the sports of hunting and fishing. And to some people, that seems crazy. As a career youth pastor, Plan A was to get un-churched young people to come to church and hang out with us. When we felt it was time for a Plan B, we came up with a new ministry called Polestar Outdoors. We thought, “Let’s get students into the outdoors, show them God’s creation, and tell them about the Creator.” Every year, in faith, we take young people hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and shooting. And by His grace, we have seen young people come to Jesus.
Young People at His Feet
Cordell is just one of those young people. Like many of our students, Cordell is from a single-parent home. His mother left the house when he was young and his father battles alcoholism. In recent years Cordell has been involved with our ministry, Polestar Outdoors, and I thought it would be an encouragement to let him share his story in his words:
Ron took me and my friend Tanner ice fishing this past winter. When we got to the lake, we drilled our holes, set up our fishing gear, and started to fish. Ron asked if anyone wanted to pray and thank God for such a beautiful day and beautiful place. I didn’t want to pray and neither did my friend. So Ron prayed for us. He ended his prayer by saying, “And Lord, please let me catch all the fish.”
Not five minutes later and sure enough Ron started to catch ALL the fish. This went on for a couple of hours until I asked Ron if I could pray! So, I prayed that Tanner and I would start catching fish. And I kid you not, in 10 minutes we started to catch fish. I could not believe it.
On the drive home, I started to ask Ron questions about God. It was the first time that I realized that God has a sense of humor. I knew Ron had one but did not know God did too. I thought that God was this big guy up there waiting for me to mess up so He could punish me. By the time we got home I wanted to give my life to Jesus and so I repented of my sin (I was a huge liar) and asked Jesus to take control of my life. I will never forget that ice fishing trip with Ron.
Ron has told me that he was fishing for me that day, and that Jesus really did answer his prayer about catching ALL the fish (talking about me and Tanner). Now any time we go fishing with Ron, I am the first to pray!
Cordell’s story is a great testimony of how Jesus can bring healing and forgiveness when we are willing to do whatever it takes to get them to His feet. Let’s ask ourselves every day: “What are we doing to get people to the feet of Jesus? Is it time for a Plan B?” Whatever it is, you can believe that Jesus will see your faith, and respond with healing and forgiveness.
Copyright © 2013 Ron Vining. All rights reserved.
Ron Vining is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Polestar Outdoors, a faith-based non-profit ministry that uses the outdoor sports to share Christ with young people. Polestar Outdoors has new chapters starting in various states throughout the country. For more information about this ministry, visit www.polestar-outdoors.org. You can also follow them on Twitter, @PolestarOutdoor.