By Pastor F. M. Riley
January 21, 2014
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice,” Philippians 4:4.
I hope my readers can forgive an old man for looking back into the past in order to hopefully encourage my fellow believers living today, and those who may yet become believers in our precious Savior and Lord. Just keep in mind that I am an old man who, by the grace and mercy of the Lord, has lived much longer in this present world than I expected to live. I am ready to go “home” to glory, yet while I am still here I want to spend my time ministering to God’s people and rejoicing in my Lord.
The Bible Camp
Many years ago I pastored a church in the state of Washington for about two years. At that time the churches of like faith and order in Washington and Oregon sponsored a Bible Youth Camp each year in an effort to reach young people for Christ. I had the privilege of attending that Bible Camp during the summer of 1980.
It was a real good camp and several hundred young people showed up ready for a week of camp in the beautiful Cascade mountains of Oregon. Throughout the week good spiritual preaching services were conducted each morning and each evening in the chapel on the grounds. The preaching was done by the various pastors in attendance, and some truly great messages from God’s Word were given. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit literally permeated the whole camp from the beginning of the week to the end.
The ladies from the various churches prepared the meals for the camp. A great breakfast to begin each day, a wonderful noon lunch, and a fine supper each evening. All of the food was gathered by the churches during the year and brought to the camp each summer, in order that the churches could minister the gospel to the many young people that would be there.
And this is where my story really begins…..
My Cup of Rejoicing
The camp convened on Monday morning with church buses and private cars bringing young people to camp from all over Washington and Oregon. Several hundred people checked in that year. So did the Holy Spirit of God. Adults came seriously praying for the salvation of the young people, and the presence of the Holy Spirit was so strong that any true believer could sense it immediately.
In planning for the camp, workers had been sought out and selected before the time for the camp to begin, except for someone to wash the dishes following the evening meal. For whatever their reason, those in charge of the camp had decided that each evening they would ask for volunteers to wash the dishes in order to have them ready for serving the next morning. I had never been to the camp before and didn’t know what the plan was, but I soon learned.
That first Monday was a real blessing with good preaching in the chapel hall, and one or two saved that first day. After the evening meal the camp pastor called for volunteers to wash the dishes. Not a single hand went up. But then the Lord spoke to my heart and I raised my hand volunteering to wash the dishes. Someone else then volunteered to help. And that took care of the dishwashing problem that night.
Now I would not be honest if I said that I enjoy washing dishes, although I have done a lot of it over
the years, and am still doing it today. But as I stuck my hands in the dishwater that night and pulled up that first plate to wash, I began rejoicing in the Lord. I looked at that plate and that moment it represented to me a young person with a soul, and I was just doing what had to be done to help bring that young person to Christ. And so it was with every plate, every saucer, every knife, fork, and spoon.
My Dishwater Revival
Folks, I stood there that night and prayed and rejoiced in the Lord as I washed those dishes, and the tears began streaming down my cheeks and dripping off into the dishwater. I was experiencing my own personal revival as I joyfully washed those dishes. When I finished the dishes and left the dining hall that night I was praising and worshiping my Lord, and thanking Him that I could have a little part in helping bring some of those young people to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Glory to God!
The next evening when they asked for volunteers to wash the dishes, my hand was the first one up. And likewise on the third night. I hadn’t said a word to anyone about my personal revival going on every night as I bowed over the sink, but the fourth night when I raised my hand another dear brother in the Lord jumped up and loudly declared to the entire group in the dining hall, “No! Bro. Riley is not washing dishes tonight! I have been watching him each night, and I know what is going on. He can’t have it all for himself. I am washing dishes tonight!” And so he did! And someone else the next night. And then the week long camp was over, but the blessings were not. Over two dozen young people were saved in that camp that year, and their lives are still being lived out for the Lord.
Dear readers, this may seem like a silly testimony for me to be sharing with you, but it was a precious experience with the Lord to me. The Lord God drove home the point to me in that experience that our attitude of heart in serving Him makes all the difference in our degree of contentment and our joy. How many of you dear ladies just dread doing the dishes, washing the clothes, sweeping the floors, etc.? Have you ever considered that those dishes mean that the Lord God has graciously provided you and your family with food to eat? That those dirty clothes means that the Lord God has provided you and your loved ones with warm comfortable clothing? That even sweeping the floor means that the Lord God has graciously provided a warm place for you and your loved ones to live?
Today there are many homeless people sleeping in the woods and under bridges, eating from dumpsters, and finding used clothing that has been discarded. Are you praying for them, witnessing to them, and trying to win them to the Lord?
Yes, there are many tasks in this life which are unpleasant, dirty, smelly, and even downright miserable, yet someone has to do those jobs. We can spend our time complaining and wallowing in self pity and crying out, “Why me Lord? Or…we can realize what that task represents for our own welfare, or for the welfare and benefit of others, and thank the Lord for the privilege of even being able to perform the task. Hallelujah! Glory to God! Praise the Lord!
Just a memory shared from the life of an old man. I hope it blesses some reader.
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Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this article to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
God bless you all. My heart is filled with love for my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am looking forward to the great “family reunion” in glory real soon. Thank you for holding up my hands over these many years as I have attempted to share the gospel of Christ. May your rewards be great in glory.
Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, Last Call Gospel Ministry, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can be contacted by email at:
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