Is there someone in your life who has invited you to go deeper in your Christian faith and your relationship with Jesus Christ? Are you grateful for the role that person has played?
Whatever our relationship with God may be, there is likely someone who was instrumental in leading us to our current level of faith. It may be a parent, a priest or pastor, a teacher or Christian friend.
This past week I was blessed to have reconnected with some dear friends, Anne and her husband, Tony, who were instrumental in leading my wife and me to meet Jesus Christ in a new and personal way thirty-nine years ago. We were living in New York at the time. Anne and I were serving as religious education teachers for high school students in our church. I remember Anne always having such a beautiful, joyful smile and encouraging the rest of us.
She started to invite me to various spiritual related events, but I would decline. So then she started inviting my wife, who accepted an invitation to a “Week of Renewal in the Holy Spirit.” It was a program conducted over five consecutive nights by some nuns at a nearby parish. Each night my wife would invite me to join her, but I declined, claiming to have a brief case full of work. At that time in my life I was more focused on my career as an attorney than I was on the Lord.
On the fourth night, my wife came home absolutely radiant. She said she had been prayed with for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I decided that I had to go to the final night to see what this was all about. On that evening I met Jesus Christ in a new and personal way. I, too, was subsequently prayed with for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and God started the process of changing my life. My outlook and priorities all began to change as God became the center of every aspect of our lives, impacting our marriage, family, career, ministry, friendships, etc.
After almost 40 years, we have experienced countless blessings as a result of this invitation from Anne to go deeper in our faith. We have been blessed in our marriage, in the raising of our five children and seeing them now raise Christian families of their own. I became involved in a ministry to encourage people to live out their faith in their work, and we have been surrounded and supported by many Christian friends in our church and community.
Today, we live in Virginia, and Anne and Tony live in Pennsylvania. We had lost contact with them for a few years after they left New York, but it was such a blessing to have visited them this past week, reminiscing and catching up on our respective families.
How grateful we are for Anne and her invitation for us to go deeper with Christ! “A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance [her] worth. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy.” (Sirach 6:15-16) How urgent it is for us to invite others to come to know Jesus through our word and example! Our world is in desperate need of him.
Have you invited anyone lately to get to know Jesus more, to check out your church or just to encourage them in their journey with the Lord?