Rev. Sudha Mehta©
Can you remember someone in your life that had a tremendous impact on you in a very short time?
When my son graduated Law School, I asked him if he could point to someone in his life growing up that impacted him in a life changing way. He named three. His third grade Teacher, his high school Guidance-Counselor and an SAT tutor who met with him twice. I understood the first two. His third grade Teacher had him in class for a year – she was marvelous. His high school Guidance-Counselor knew him a long time also. But the third puzzled me. Two one hour sessions were all he did with this tutor! In this short encounter this gentleman said some things that changed my son’s outlook on his future in a measurable way.
Brother Sumner was such a man for me. He came two summers from England to preach in the USA and our Church was one of his stops.
In my last posting I shared about Brother Greenaway’s booming voice, now let me tell you about Brother Sumner’s gentle manner and quiet voice.
He was very easy to listen to. I did stay in the second row, up front . . . my usual spot. A soft-spoken man, he looked kind with a very unassuming manner. This was a man who could hide in a room full of TWO people if he was one of them. Gentle and soft-spoken – his words revealed a sure faith. He had a relationship with Jesus that was utterly sure, and he stood on SOLID ground.
We were used to having evangelists come that would pray over the people. Half the congregation lined up at times, being “slain in the spirit” was common! I had never seen anything like that before I got to this Church, and here it seemed par-for-the-course. Some evangelists seemed a little pushy about it. They would get so excited praying over the person that they seemed to shove the head back rather strongly so the person would have the extra push to go down. Sometimes it wasn’t clear where the evangelist’s hand ended and the Lord’s power began. I am not being sacrilegious, just truthful. A friend confessed she did not want to be ‘pushed’ down, so she planted her feet firmly in a position, locking her feet, so she would not be pushed down by human hands. I thought this was reasonable. To be “slain in the spirit” should be by the Lord’s touch, not man’s doing. Right??!! Just as Paul said:
1 Corinthians 2: 1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.(BSB)
Now, I was different, in that I wanted to have this experience so much that I stood as lightly as I could. It still hasn’t been something I have ever experienced in the physical, though in a dream, when the Lord appeared to me and anointed me, I did ask Him for it, and He did grant it (in the dream).
Anyway, back to Brother Sumner: after preaching he would give the altar call, the people crowded up front for a touch of God from this holy man. This is where he was different from all other evangelists. He spoke quietly, almost in hushed tones. He didn’t ask what you needed prayer for, the Lord would reveal it to him. Then he prayed over the person, and just about everyone dropped like flies. The altar-workers would move around quietly praying in tongues, making sure everyone was okay. A Holy hush would descend in the Sanctuary around everyone as they would be ministered to by the Lord on this precious Holy ground.
One really unique thing: Brother Sumner never touched anyone that he prayed over. Before praying he would tell us all that he would not touch us. His hand would come to about four inches from the head of the person and stay there. He told us beforehand that he wished to avoid all controversy as to whose power was at work, so if anyone was to be slain, it would be God’s power, not his! I thought this was truly incredible for it gave true evidence of the work of God!!
In his services, I saw more people fall under the power of God than in any other evangelist’s!
To this day, I marvel at his way of doing things. Perhaps it is more suited to my personality. I am more of an introverted Pentecostal.
Brother Greenaway’s larger than life presence was so different from this man’s. Yet, to me, both were equally mighty men of God.
I am awed by God in that He pours His own Life into each of us. We become more like Him each passing day, as vessels we really want to be filled with His Spirit, yet, none of us actually get so taken over that we lose our own personalities. He uses us, transforms us into His image, yet somehow He manages to use us within the confines of our personalities which He gave us to begin with!
Look at the Bible, it is full of people that were different as night and day.
Children born in the same family to the same set of parents, raised in the same manner grow so often to have very different personalities. So it is with God’s family.
Just consider the disciples. Peter and Andrew were brothers, both were apostles, yet one was so much more vocal and hot headed than the other. John and James were brothers, both were called the sons of thunder, both were commissioned as apostles, yet John was called the beloved disciple. John was the one to whom Jesus gave the responsibility of caring for His own mother when He was on the cross!
Jesus taught them all the same lessons, granted them all the same authority, loved them all the same (He can’t love less than perfectly), yet they all served Him differently within the confines of their own personalities. Each served well, each served wholly, each gave his life for the cause, serving to the end, (save Judas, the son of perdition), yet no two were exactly alike.
Consider the gospels, four different writers, four different angles, same Gospel. Same God, but Matthew saw the Lion of Judah or the King of the Jews, Mark saw the Servant or the hardworking Ox, Luke records the Perfect Man, the Son of Man, and John presents the Son of God, the Divine also represented by the Eagle. These four representations of the Gospels are seen in:
Revelation 4:7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature was like an ox, the third living creature had a face like a human, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. (ISV)
We have a complete composite like looking through a prism. God saw that for a complete picture of One Man we needed four men with their unique personalities to write with the perfect anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Not many Ministers/Missionaries/Apostles/Teachers/Pastors/Prophets in all of Christendom get to have huge auditoriums full of thousands of people. Not many end up with a Worldwide Ministry reaching millions of people. The vast majority of ministers have a much smaller circle of influence. Yet each is just as important. As God calls, these faithful ones step up and minister faithfully. If called upon, these would even give their lives in the service of Christ. Brother Greenaway faced many such times of danger in Africa. Countless others have ministered in remote places around the World throughout our history. Many have given their lives in the field. The young man I wrote of in my blog Titled “Wee” Three Kings, just lost his life for the cause of Christ. Paul speaks of his own experience:
2 Corinthians 11: 23b in harder labor, in more imprisonments, in worse beatings, in frequent danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. 26 In my frequent journeys, I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brother. 27 in labor and toil and often without sleep, in hunger and thirst and often without food, in cold and exposure.(BSB)
The Apostle Paul, like all the other Apostles, was a Missionary.
Everyone that is ‘born-again’, receives the Great Commission, and is called to serve in one way or another. Whether you are on foreign soil or home turf, you are called to be a Missionary. Question is, are you being one? Are you fulfilling the call He has given you faithfully? You may be called to be a Missionary to your neighbor, your co-worker, your family, the lad at the checkout in the grocery store, the gas station or anywhere else. Will you give a good account of your service to Him? When you stand before God how will you be received? If you have changes to make in how you work and serve now would be your chance to make them, it might just be too late, too soon!
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3 Comments Add yours
It is so amazing how GOD uses people that were considered outcasts and equips them to share HIS gospel to others.
Reblogged this on Stardust.