The Town Drunk


While I was a student at Southern Baptist Seminary, I was invited to preach a trial sermon in view of a call to a mission in Moscow, Ohio. The sermon was to be preached at the sponsoring church in Felicity, Ohio. The pastor was Walter Routh; who later went to Vietnam along with his wife Pauline, as Southern Baptist Missionaries. The church had begun the new congregation, with the help of members who volunteered their time and services. Now, they were ready to call their first pastor.

We were excited about the possibility of serving in a new mission work, but we wanted to be sure we were in God's will. My wife and I prayed that God would make it clear to us what we were suppose to do.

We drove up to Felicity from Louisville, Kentucky and spent the weekend with Walter and Pauline. They were excellent hosts. We found we had much in common, since all of us hoped to end up on the foreign mission field. Walter shared his burden about the Moscow mission as well as for his own church field.

He had a special concern for a fellow known as the town drunk. Walter had witnessed to him several times, but the man had not yet turned to Christ. The fellow's wife and children were attending church.

There was a special prayer meeting Saturday night, for the coming Sunday morning. Several mentioned the town drunk by name and asked God to save him.

Sunday morning came. There was a sweet spirit in the service. The church was full. It was several minutes after the service had started when the front door opened and in walked Fred. (Not his real name.) He was clean and sober. Every eye seemed to be on him as he walked up to his wife and sat down beside her. I did not understand the reason for the excitement until after the service.

As I preached that day, God gave me an unusual amount of freedom. Prayers for God's annointment on the message and the messenger were being answered.

When the invitation to accept Christ was given at the close of the message, eleven people came forward. Some came for salvation. Others came for rededication. God was moving in an extraordinary way. One of those who came to receive Christ was Fred.

Pastor Routh was ecstatic! "O Fred, Fred, Fred," he shouted, "how I have prayed for this moment."

I felt it a special privilege to be a preacher that day. God had allowed me to be in on the harvest of another man's faithfulness in prayer and witnessing. He also used the service to confirm to the pastoral search committee His choice for the Moscow mission.

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 1 Co. 3:7-8

True Story from the book "Not Return Void" Copyright 2000 H. Warren Rice -- All Rights Reserved Used by permission Book Inquiries: warren-bette-rice@juno.com

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