Little Tract Resonates With 'Big Navy Guy'
When we wonder if leaving a tract somewhere really does any good, Pastor Jack Hilliard of Grace Baptist Church in Fallbrook, California is a living answer.
He relates how, when he was discharged from the Navy, he was feeling despondent and lost. His father had abandoned his family when he was three years old and he had never felt loved or wanted. In the Navy he had been somebody but now he tried to fill his life with being the "big man" on the party scene.
"But on the inside, I was a lonely little boy and felt that no one cared about me," he remembers.
One day, he wandered into a local donut shop and ordered coffee. While waiting for it, he noticed a little booklet lying on the counter. The title, Somebody Loves Me, caught his attention and he picked it up and began reading it.
The story of a little boy, beaten and outcast, immediately resonated with his own feelings of despair. He paid for the coffee and asked if he might keep the little tract.
"Sure," said the waitress. "Some religious nut left it here awhile ago."
He took it home and read it over and over. Somehow, he missed the message of hope at the end of the tract. The urge to commit suicide that had been haunting him became overwhelming and he loaded his rifle and placed the muzzle in his mouth with his hand on the trigger.
His hand almost jumped the wrong way when there was a loud knock at the door. He tried to ignore it but the visitors persisted. Finally, he shoved the rifle behind the couch and answered the door.
Two smiling young men greeted him, and asked if they could come in and share the Bible with him. He listened to their earnest appeal that he commit his life to Christ, but, since he had been in Sunday school as a kid, he assured them that he was a Christian.
Finally, on parting, one of the men asked to pray for him and in the prayer, he covered the Romans Road to salvation. When they left, they gave him another Chick tract.
When Jack sat down to read the new tract, he noticed that the address of the church was on the back so he decided to attend the next Sunday. What did he have to lose?
Jack tried to slip unnoticed into the last pew, but one of his previous visitors spotted him and came and sat beside him. He wanted to run out of the church, but decided to stick it out and see what would happen.
His seat mate said nothing to him through the whole sermon, but at the invitation, he put his hand on Jack's shoulder, looked him in the eye in quiet earnestness and said, "I'll go with you, if you want to go."
Jack's pride crumbled and he staggered to the front of the church. Eventually, he attended Bible School and is now pastoring. Pastor Hilliard's church has committed themselves to placing at least one Chick gospel tract in every home in Fallbrook. No one can convince Pastor Hilliard that they don't work.
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