At the national conference I met a young man we will call Steve who came to the Free Grace position from a strong Lordship Salvation (LS) background. He was in a strong LS church. Steve decided that if he were going to serve the Lord, he was going to do so with gusto. For him this meant learning the evangelistic message backwards and forwards. This led him to the book section at Amazon.com.
Steve looked up books on Lordship Salvation. He read the reviews so he could get an idea of what was in each of these books.
In one of the reviews of a LS book, the reviewer recommended a commentary on James by someone named Zane Hodges. Steve ended up buying the commentary on James by Hodges. That led him to become Free Grace and to grow in his understanding by reading many of the books we offer. It also led him to attend our national conference.
Think about it. Someone took a few minutes to mention in an Amazon review the commentary on James by Zane Hodges. That was a little thing to do. But it was used by the Lord to change the entire direction of a young man’s life.
That reminded me of three little incidents in my own life.
First, during the summer between my junior and senior years in college, a friend came to invite me to a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting at his college at the start of the school year. I wasn’t interested. But then John asked, “Bob, is it possible that your view of the gospel might be wrong?” That led me to attend the meeting, then to meet with a CCC staffer who led me to believe the promise of everlasting life weeks after that. A little question. An eternal impact in my life.
Second, when I was starting my second year at Dallas Seminary, I asked a doctoral student for any advice he might have regarding the master’s program. He said, “Don’t take professors in order to gain information. You can get information from books after you graduate. Take professors who can teach you method. It is very hard to pick up method just from books. Method is gained by watching someone else practice it.”
I asked if he could recommend any professors who teach method. Though he was an Old Testament doctoral student, he said that someone named Zane Hodges in the New Testament department had a unique way of interpreting the Scriptures, and he was well worth taking.
The whole conversation lasted a few minutes. I don’t think I ever told Chip how much his advice impacted my life. The very next semester I took a course on the Greek text of Hebrew from Hodges. From then on, I took a course from Hodges every semester. He was my advisor on my thesis and again on my dissertation.
While I was mildly Free Grace before I was discipled by Hodges, my whole life changed as a result of taking classes from him. And who knows if I would have taken those classes but for a passing suggestion.
Third, while I was on the Dallas Seminary campus a month or two before I received my doctorate, I noticed a flier for a conference on the gospel. The speakers were Zane Hodges and Craig Glickman, two leading Free Grace professors at DTS. I found out a few months later the conference was cancelled due to lack of interest. That bothered me. For months I thought about it. Less than one year later, I started GES as a direct result of seeing that flier. The conference did not even happen. Yet just the prospect of it changed the course of my life.
A brief conversation you have with someone may change that person’s life. Something you wrote in a review or an email may greatly help someone else. God can use the little things you do to have eternal impact in the lives of others.
We won’t know, of course, the impact we have had until we appear at the Bema, the Judgment Seat of Christ. We may know a small amount of what we have done, but surely many little things we did will be shown to have had major impact on others.
So, don’t think, “My life doesn’t make any difference. I’m not some big evangelist or pastor.” Maybe not. But the little things you do can and often do make a huge difference. Remember what the Lord told the faithful servant in Luke 19:17? He said, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” Just be faithful in the opportunities God gives you, and one day you will hear, “Well done, good servant.”