It is not often that I am invited to lead the discussion in a Sunday School class, but this Sunday I was invited to do that for a class at Waterford Mennonite Church. Eldon told me about it many weeks ago and I had consented to tell some stories, but I had forgotten it. I had a week to prepare.
I’ve often said that I am not prepared to preach until I had walked into the pulpit. That is about the way it was this past Sunday. I saw the word “Seekers” on the door of the class when I entered. When the time came for me to speak, I immediately told them that I was glad to be among seekers, and reminded them that Jesus had come to seek. Our mission as followers of Jesus is to seek. It’s true isn’t it that the Good Shepherd of the sheep showed greater concern and exerted greatest energy for the one sheep that was lost than over the ninety-nine sheep that were safely lodged in the fold. So I told some of my seeker stories to the class, emphasizing that we don’t always know immediately the results of our seeking. Sometimes the good that is done is known only after generations have passed by.
Here is a story I didn’t tell the class on Sunday. Rhoda and I were shopping in a Tampa mall when Rhoda’s prayer covering apparently identified us as Mennonites. A woman we did not know came up to us. She said, “I was once a Mennonite, but I moved away from the Mennonite Church and joined a Brethren in Christ Church. Then I moved again and became a Mormon.” “But,” she said with a huge smile, “I’m a born-again Mormon, and I’ve been baptized by the Holy Spirit.”
She walked away and was lost in the crowd before we could ask questions. She puzzled me, but I had the opportunity to ask questions a few days later. Two Mormon missionaries came to our door. I usually brushed them off, as I did with Jehovah’s Witnesses, also, but this time I invited them to come in because I had some questions to ask.
I told the missionaries about the woman who had talked to Rhoda and me. Do you know what she meant when she said she was born again, I asked They said they didn’t. I told them I had heard there were charismatic Mormons. I asked them if they knew of this phenomena in the Mormon church, and did they know what the woman meant when she said she had been baptized by the Spirit?
They had no information to give me. But they had a question. “Wouldn’t I be comforted to know there were bishops who could tell me what the truth is?” they asked. “No!” I promptly told them. I was a member of a church that had bishops who sometimes tried to tell me the truth, and attempted to guide me. I had learned to trust Jesus and the Holy Spirit to guide me.”
Next, they asked if I would pray for them. “Yes,” I said, but only after they had prayed for me. So they prayed for me, and I prayed for them. We parted as friends.