The Decision

AFTER A FEW OF THE USUAL SUNDAY EVENING HYMNS,

THE CHURCH'S PREACHER SLOWLY STOOD UP,

WALKED OVER TO THE PULPIT AND,

BEFORE HE GAVE HIS SERMON FOR THE EVENING,

BRIEFLY INTRODUCED A GUEST MINISTER

WHO WAS IN THE SERVICE THAT EVENING.

IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE PREACHER TOLD THE CONGREGATION

THAT THE GUEST MINISTER WAS ONE OF HIS DEAREST

CHILDHOOD FRIENDS AND THAT HE WANTED HIM TO HAVE A

FEW MOMENTS TO GREET THE CHURCH AND SHARE

WHATEVER HE FELT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR THE

SERVICE. WITH THAT, AN ELDERLY MAN STEPPED UP TO THE

PULPIT AND BEGAN TO SPEAK.

"A FATHER, HIS SON, AND A FRIEND OF HIS SON WERE

SAILING OFF THE PACIFIC COAST." HE BEGAN.

"WHEN A FAST APPROACHING STORM BLOCKED ANY ATTEMPT TO

GET BACK TO THE SHORE. THE WAVES WERE SO HIGH, THAT

EVEN THOUGH THE FATHER WAS AN EXPERIENCED SAILOR, HE

COULD NOT KEEP THE BOAT UPRIGHT AND THE THREE WERE

SWEPT INTO THE OCEAN AS THE BOAT CAPSIZED."

THE OLD MAN HESITATED FOR A MOMENT,

MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH TWO TEENAGERS WHO WERE,

FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE SERVICE BEGAN,

LOOKING SOMEWHAT INTERESTED IN HIS STORY.

THE AGED MINISTER CONTINUED WITH HIS STORY,

"GRABBING A RESCUE LINE, THE FATHER HAD TO MAKE THE

MOST EXCRUCIATING DECISION OF HIS LIFE: TO WHICH BOY

WOULD HE THROW THE OTHER END OF THE LIFE LINE.

HE ONLY HAD SECONDS TO MAKE THE DECISION.

THE FATHER KNEW THAT HIS SON WAS A CHRISTIAN AND HE,

ALSO, KNEW THAT HIS SON'S FRIEND WAS NOT.

THE AGONY OF HIS DECISION COULD NOT BE MATCHED BY THE

TORRENT OF WAVES.

AS THE FATHER YELLED OUT, 'I LOVE YOU, SON!'

HE THREW OUT THE LIFE LINE TO HIS SON'S FRIEND.

BY THE TIME THE FATHER HAD PULLED THE FRIEND BACK TO

THE CAPSIZED BOAT, HIS SON HAD DISAPPEARED BENEATH THE

RAGING SWELLS INTO THE BLACK OF NIGHT.

HIS BODY WAS NEVER RECOVERED.

BY THIS TIME, THE TWO TEENAGERS WERE SITTING UP

STRAIGHT IN THE PEW, ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR THE NEXT

WORDS TO COME OUT OF THE OLD MINISTER'S MOUTH.

"THE FATHER," HE CONTINUED, "KNEW HIS SON WOULD STEP

INTO ETERNITY WITH JESUS AND HE COULD NOT BEAR THE

THOUGHT OF HIS SON'S FRIEND STEPPING INTO AN ETERNITY

"WITHOUT JESUS.. THEREFORE, HE SACRIFICED HIS SON TO

SAVE THE SON'S FRIEND. "

HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF GOD THAT HE SHOULD DO THE

SAME FOR US. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER SACRIFICED HIS ONLY

BEGOTTEN SON THAT WE COULD BE SAVED. I URGE YOU TO

ACCEPT HIS OFFER TO RESCUE YOU AND TAKE A HOLD OF THE

LIFE LINE HE IS THROWING OUT TO YOU IN THIS SERVICE."

WITH THAT, THE OLD MAN TURNED AND SAT BACK DOWN IN HIS

; CHAIR AS SILENCE FILLED THE ROOM.

THE PREACHR AGAIN WALKED SLOWLY TO THE PULPIT AND

DELIVERED A BRIEF SERMON WITH AN INVITATION AT THE
END. HOWEVER, NO ONE RESPONDED TO THE APPEAL. WITHIN

MINUTES AFTER THE SERVICE ENDED, THE TWO TEENAGERS

WERE AT THE OLD MAN'S SIDE.

"THAT WAS A NICE STORY," POLITELY STATED ONE OF T! HEM,

"BUT I DON'T THINK IT WAS VERY REALISTIC FOR A FATHER

TO GIVE UP HIS ONLY SON'S LIFE IN HOPES THAT THE OTHER

BOY WOULD BECOME A CHRISTIAN."

"WELL, YOU 'VE GOT A POINT THERE," THE OLD MAN REPLIED

GLANCING DOWN AT HIS WORN BIBLE. A BIG SMILE B! ROADENED

HIS NARROW FACE. HE ONCE AGAIN LOOKED UP AT THE BOYS

AND SAID, "IT SURE ISN'T VERY REALISTIC, IS IT? BUT

I'M STANDING HERE TODAY TO TELL YOU THAT STORY GIVES

ME A GLIMPSE OF WHAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE FOR GOD TO

GIVE UP HIS SON FOR ME. YOU SEE...

I WAS THAT FATHER AND YOUR PREACHER IS MY SON'S FRIEND."

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life"