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The Open Door

 

Bill Tanner is a dear friend whom I respect and appreciate greatly. Bill used to be president of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, among other highly visible and important positions.

Bill is also an outstanding humorist. He always has a great story to tell or a funny joke to recite. That’s why this story I am going to tell you is so funny. It came from a guy who enjoyed telling jokes about others, but on this occasion, the joke was on Bill.

He was preaching for a conference at Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center. His sermon text focused on the story of Samson. At the end of the service, Bill’s wife Ellen asked, “Bill, do you know what you did?” Bill said, “What do you mean?” She said, “Did you realize that you called Samson, ‘Tarzan?’” “No, I didn’t do that,” Bill said in total surprise and disbelief. “You did,” said Ellen. “In fact, throughout your entire sermon you referred to Samson as Tarzan.” Bill complained that he did not say it. Ellen said, “Go get one of the tapes of your sermon and listen to it.” That ended the conversation.

No doubt, even the finest communicators, at times, have difficulty communicating. Even with our errors, however, it is better than not communicating at all. A fellow was critical to me on an occasion about the soul winning training we were providing the members of our church. He said, “I don’t like the way you witness.” I asked, “Well, how do you do it?” He replied, “I don’t witness.” I said, “I like my method better than yours!”

In this New Year, don’t worry about making mistakes as you communicate the Gospel as you witness to others. Everybody makes mistakes in communication from time to time. The important thing is that you take advantage of every opportunity to tell the wonderful story of Jesus and His love. Georgia will never be reached for Christ through a timid or shy congregation of believers. Even the most shy and retiring among us should be anxious to tell all we know about the One Who saved us!