The Great Symphony of Salvation

Have you come to Jesus?

If you have come to know Jesus as your personal savior, how did you come to Jesus? A recent survey of pastors, done by Lifeway Research, found that 29% percent of pastors came to Christ through a family member and 11% through a pastor’s ministry.

My thoughts on the matter differ a bit. Not because the research is faulty, rather that it only tells the end of the story and leaves out the depth that God goes to in order to reach His rebellious creation.

Consider this passage of Scripture…

1 Corinthians 3:5–8 (NKJV) “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”

The Bible says that Paul planted the seed of faith, Apollos watered that seed, but God gave the increase, or brought to life that planting and watering of the gospel in the hearts of men, women, and children. We are all links in the chain of salvation for those that are around us.

My own testimony… I was raised in a Christian home and I learned about Jesus from my mom and dad. I also learned about Jesus from my Sunday School teachers and pastors. I learned about Jesus from the Christian music that my mom played in the house as I was growing up. I can still hear the Gaither Trio in my mind singing The King is Coming. After watching a Christian film with my family I made a profession of faith at just 5 years old.

Sadly, as is often the case, when I was 16 years old I was done with religion. I had begun to equate Jesus with legalism and religion. To be completely forthcoming, I really don’t know if I was saved when I was 5 years old, what I do remember is a constant conversation with Jesus from that point forward, but also great doubt concerning my salvation due to some poor theology. It was into this adolescent tumult that God brought Trisha Bournival into my life. She was just a girl (albeit an adorable one) that I worked with at Kmart, in Manchester. It took us about six months before we went out on a date. Not long after that first date, she invited me to church.  I had stopped attending my church, and as I was fed up with religion, I ragged on her… but went anyway because hey, she was adorable and I was just a guy after all. Shout-p1The reality is that God the Spirit was continuing to orchestrate the great symphony of my salvation and had added a critical piece to that score. Through Trisha, I met her father Ken, Pastor Z, Pastor Clow, and Brother Rick Morin.

Over the next year, the proper theology, the testimony and witness of my childhood, the seed of the gospel, was watered by Trisha and her church, Emmanuel. Looking back, I smile as I recall all of my questioning of Trisha as we dated, concerning Biblical things. (She had a ChristianSchool education and even knew who Absalom was!) I remember with great fondness, sitting around the table at her parents’ house peppering her dad with my questions (his patience was monumental). Rick Morin, Pastor Clow and Pastor Z didn’t stand a chance either, and all took part in this great Song of Salvation.

Then it happened… the last person in that great score came to our church. Traveling Evangelist, Tommy Stone, a longtime friend of Emmanuel arrived prepared to share the Word with us for an entire week of services. He preached on a night in October. All of the planting and watering all of this great song bore fruit as the Lord quickened my dead spirit that night!

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As I struggled at the altar praying and striving once again for security in my salvation Rick Morin came and knelt with me to pray. I was ashamed of my doubt, so told him that I was fine. As I continued to struggle in prayer, an unknown lady pointed out my continued striving to Ken, my future father in law. As he came to speak with me and directed my faith to Jesus, pointing out that it was better to turn and trust Jesus once and for all, than to continue with this agony of not knowing. The time had come, and after a short conversation with Jesus I was born again!

Why tell my story? Why consider this symphony with its vast score and many pieces? Why this language of planting and watering? Because it’s Biblical. As believers every single one of us are called to join this great chorus of salvation. We are given the privilege to participate with our Father and the Holy Spirit and the Son in the greatest work of redemption.  We are responsible. It’s not the last person that joins the song that makes the song, we are all a part of the whole. If you have the opportunity to lead someone to Jesus remember this… you are simply allowed to attend the birth of a child of the King as the Holy Spirit brings him or her to life. The seed of the gospel had been planted and watered in their hearts by many, many before you. Sure I have guided the child with words from the Sacred Text as he or she was being born again. But this was simply the act of harvesting fruit that had been planted and watered in most cases long before I arrived on the scene. So what’s the big deal about understanding this? It places the glory where it belongs, on God. It also underscores our responsibility to participate in the tapestry of salvation. We all need to play our part.

Are you planting? Are you watering? Church, this is what we were called to do, and to do faithfully, consistently, regularly! Be a part of the song of someone’s salvation! Take up that responsibility the Lord has laid upon you today!