Visiting with an older gentleman one day, the discussion turned to faith. I asked him outright, “Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” The man was very kind and said, “Let me tell you what I know about Jesus.”
We were sitting on his porch while he was rocking in his rocking chair. I had visited this man several times while I was pastor in the little community. Life had not been good to this old gentleman, it was plain to see. He had farmed the land around his home for over 50 years. He was rugged and had worked in the fields most of his life and his skin was well parched. His eyes showed wear from years of squinting in the sun.
The old man began by saying, “My daddy farmed this land for many years before me and taught me all I know about farming. When I was a child, the preacher used to come visit us often, much like you have been doing. My momma and daddy attended church regularly on Sundays and took me with them. I listened to preacher deliver those messages and sometimes I would get that feeling that he was talking to me, but I mostly ignored it.”
“I grew up going to that church and listened to many a pastor preach over the years. I even became friends with some of those pastors when I grew up and took over the farming. Farming came natural for me and I could grow practically anything. It didn’t take much effort from me. Oh sure, farming is hard work, don’t get me wrong. Either it’s in you or it ain’t!”
I heartily agreed with the old man. I said, “I feel the same way about being a pastor. It’s either in you, or it’s not!” I will say that I have enjoyed the fruits of the pastorate, wherever I served. I said, “continue with your story.”
The old man sat back in his rocker and continued telling his story. “My upbringing taught me to respect the pastor and his family. I did that and became very close with one pastor. For years, he would come visit now and then and we would have great conversations. Oftentimes we would talk about Jesus and I would get off on another subject. I felt like I knew Jesus pretty well.”
I told the old man, “I’m sure you heard plenty about Him when you attended church. But what I want to know is, do you know him intimately, in your heart?” I could tell that the old man was becoming somewhat uncomfortable. He would change the subject every time he felt the Holy Spirit working on him.
As many times as I have visited this man, I knew when the Holy Spirit was working on him. It was clear to me that day that he was definitely under conviction and I did not want to leave until this man knew Jesus intimately.
I decided it was time for me to take control of the conversation and I began to share my testimony about how I experienced the touch of the Master Himself. After sharing with him, I could see his eyes beginning to tear up. I paused for a moment and watched a tear trickle down this old man’s cheek. He quickly grabbed his handkerchief from his overalls and wiped the tear. Perhaps I was a little melodramatic about my testimony, but it meant that much to me. I looked at the man and he was looking directly into my eyes and I simply said to him, “I sense that you have never had an intimate relationship with Jesus. Do you want to know Him that way today?”
“I don’t know preacher, I think Jesus must have given up on me years ago. I got to where I would go to church and it was the same old thing and I was just not feeling anything,” he said.
I told him, I had heard that same story over and over during my years as a pastor. Then I reached over and placed my hand on his arm very gently and as I did, I felt the power of the Spirit go through my arm into that man’s body. I was reminded of the woman who had touched Jesus’ garment. I truly felt as though God’s Spirit was present at that moment.
I said to the man, “Do you want to know Him, right now? You can! He never gave up on you and He has been here guiding you every day and He says today is your day! Don’t let this day go by without reaching out to Him and asking Him into your heart. You can do that! Won’t you do it?”
Tears began to stream down his cheeks and this time, he did not wipe them away. He said, “Yes preacher, I do!”
With that response, I quickly said, “would you pray with me and accept Jesus right now?” He replied with a hearty YES! I then led him in the sinner’s prayer and felt the power of the Holy Spirit take over that man’s life, immediately.
When we were through praying, he said, “Is that it? That’s all I had to do?”
I said, “Yes, it is that simple. Even a child can do it. So, how do you feel?”
The man was so overjoyed and he said, “It is Him! It is Him! I feel him right here!” He pointed to his chest and said again, “It is Him! I finally know Him!”
We embraced and praised God together.
He told me how he had always read the story and even heard it preached about how Thomas had doubted that the disciples had seen Jesus. He said, “I’ve often wondered what it would be like to reach out and touch Jesus and today I now know what it’s like! Thomas, you finally showed me what happened to you. It certainly is Him!”
Isn’t it strange that so often people live this kind of life not really knowing what it’s like to know Jesus that intimately? Anyone who is open to hearing the truth and accepting it, can have that feeling today.
Yes, it is Him!