This is a story about a man named Doug Nichols. In 1967, Doug Nichols was serving as a missionary in India. He contracted tuberculosis, and was sent to a sanitarium to recuperate. Though he was not living on much more money than the people from India in the sanitarium, they thought that because he was an American, he had to be rich. Doug said, “They didn’t know that I was just as broke as they were.”
When he was hospitalized, Doug unsuccessfully tried to reach some of the patients for Christ. When he offered them tracts or Gospels of John, they politely refused. It was obvious that the patients wanted nothing to do with him or his God. Doug grew discouraged and wondered why God had allowed him to be there.
Doug was often awakened in the night by the sound of coughing from him as well as other patients. Unable to sleep because of his coughing, early one morning Doug noticed an old man trying to sit on the edge of the bed. But because of his weakness, he would fall back. Exhausted, the old man finally lay still and cried. Early the next morning the same scene repeated itself. Then later in the morning, the smell that began to permeate the room revealed the obvious. The old man had been trying to get up and go to a rest room.
Doug said, “The stench in the ward was awful. Other patients yelled insults at him. Angry nurses moved him roughly from side to side as they cleaned up the mess. One of the nurses even slapped him in anger. The man was completely embarrassed and curled up into a ball and wept.” The next morning, Doug noticed the old man was again trying to generate enough strength to get himself out of bed. Like the night before, he fell back whimpering. This time, Doug got out of bed, went over to where the old man was, touching him on the shoulder his eyes opened wide with fear, he put one arm under his head and neck, the other under his legs, and gently carried him to the rest room. When he had finished, Doug carried him back to his bed. The old man, speaking in a language that Doug did not understand, thanked him profusely, and then kissed him on the cheek. But the story doesn’t end there.
Eventually Doug went back to sleep. In the morning, he awakened to a hot cup of tea served to him by another patient who spoke no English. After the patient served the tea, he made motions indicating that he wanted one of Doug’s tracts. Doug said, “All throughout the day, people came to me asking for Gospel tracts.” “This included the nurses, hospital interns, the doctors, until everyone in the hospital had a tract, booklet, or Gospel of John.”
Weeks later, an evangelist who spoke the indigenous language visited Doug, and as he talked to others in the sanatorium, he discovered that several already professed faith in Christ as Saviour as a result of reading his literature!
What did it take to reach these people with the gospel? It wasn’t health, the ability to speak their language, or a persuasive talk. Doug Nichols said, “I simply took an old man to the bathroom.”
In the church where I serve we have two sayings printed on the wall in front of the congregation. On the left side it says Love Like Jesus and on the right side it says Live Like Jesus. I don’t think we realize how important those two sayings are or how powerful they are. I have used Gospel tracts and handouts. I still do and they are a great tool. I just don’t think we stop to contemplate just how powerful a life lived in Jesus Christ is to change the lives of those around us. Letting Jesus live through us and loving like He did has the ability to change more lives than we will ever know. For some people, the only Jesus they will get to see is the one that lives through our actions and love.
My prayer today is that those words “Love Like Jesus – Live Like Jesus” aren’t just sayings written on a church wall. That they aren’t just the current catchy phrase that we toss around. I pray that if Christ lives in you and is Lord of your life that you live those words to the fullest each and every day of the week, not just on Sunday. If Jesus isn’t Lord of your life and you want to talk about how you can have a relationship with Him, just click the Contact Me link at the top of the site page and I’d be happy to talk with you.