The Preacher

Yahweh appeared of old to me, saying, "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love. Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 WEB.

"Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me..." I remember standing in a Baptist church, a kid about six years old, as they sang this hymn. When they did an altar call, several people went forward, and I went along with them. But they all told me to go sit back down because they thought I was too young to be saved. I wasn't the first child to be turned away by the Lord's followers, but He told them to stop doing that a long time ago (Matthew 19:13).

I so wanted to be saved, but I didn't qualify. I still remember it vividly over forty years later. Maybe I was too young for them, but the Lord didn't seem to think so because He followed me home that night. He began to work in my life and prepare me for a future that I didn't even see. I didn't think I was saved until many years later. Yet, when looking back, I can see His hand on my life even way back then.

When I was around twelve years old, I was surrounded by bad influences. Right before school got out that summer, a preacher came to our home one Sunday afternoon. I had worked for his son in the tobacco fields the previous year, and he liked me. The preacher had an odd request. He lived on a farm about forty minutes away, and he wanted me to come and stay with his family for the summer to help them gather their tobacco. Crazy enough, my dad was ok with it, and away I went.

I spent the next two summers with the preacher and his family, and we worked in the tobacco fields together. It was hard work. We would be up every morning before sunrise to pick up the hands, fuel the tractor, and gather the supplies for the day. Then crop tobacco all day and still be checking the heat in barns at eleven that night. Also, where my family rarely went to church, I was now in church every week.

The Lord began to draw my heart. Jesus wanted a relationship with me personally. He has never been judgmental but always accepted me just like I was. I didn't have to become someone else. He sought me out, "Just as I am." He set me apart and put the right people in my life. No matter how many times I fell, He always had a plan for me, and He would pick me back up.

Today I can tell you that you don't have to be accepted by anyone on Earth. You don't have to change to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, though we all change after we meet Him. You don't have to clean yourself up first, for if you could have, you already would have.

You don't have to change the impossible to get started. You can do it with the Lord's help. Talk to Him today in prayer like you would a dear friend. Share your day with Him, and ask Him for wisdom when you are making decisions. I can tell you today that the Lord wants a relationship with you right now, right where you are, whether you are eight or eighty.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want to know You better. Please stir me up, Lord, and give me Your zeal. Restore my strength. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in me today. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

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