"Not a Chance!"
As a kid, I must have given my Sunday School teacher a very difficult time. She was a dear saint and I am certain that she tried hard to teach me about God, Jesus, righteousness and sin. But she was convinced that her efforts were in vain. She told my wife, "I thought that nothing good would ever come of Ralph."
Then she realized that I was standing there listening and turned beet red. She turned to me and said, "Oh, I'm sorry; I forgot that you were there."
She was not alone in her opinion. I recall hearing my mother tell someone that I was "incorrigible" and I asked her what that word meant. School teachers wrote notes in my report cards that expressed similar doubts.
Ralph behave? No such luck! Ralph learn? No dice! Not a chance!
Fortunately, serving the Lord is not a gamble, and God leaves nothing to chance. Proverbs 2:6 says, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. That is a promise - God's promise! Isaiah 55:11 says, So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
We had been serving the Lord as missionaries for about twenty years when the above conversation took place. God was blessing our youth ministry. Kids were turning to Christ that other people had given up on as "incorrigable": street kids, drug addicts, criminals, losers.
I give credit first of all to the Lord's saving grace, but also to my former Sunday School teachers, pastors and parents who kept giving me God's Word and warning of the consequences of sin. They may have thought their efforts were in vain, but they didn't give up.
I had learned that with God, all things are possible. If God could save me, he could save anyone!
Christians should not gamble, but have faith in God and his Word. If we faithfully share God's Word, God will keep his promise even when we think we are losers. Obedience is never a gamble!
Ralph and Verna Harvey served 38 years in Austria.
Ralph V. Harvey