No More Excuses
June 1, 2005 - My husband, Kenneth, and I were married on May 5, 1956. As a young, happy couple, we decided to celebrate our "anniversary" on the fifth of every month, or as close to that date as possible. August 10, 1957, was one of those dates. Our celebration usually included dinner and a movie. However, on this date, we decided to go to the New York Billy Graham Crusade at Madison Square Garden.
by Elsie Thompson
We had been to the Crusade twice already, and each time it was so crowded that we had to sit in the balcony. But this time, we were seated on the first floor—about 12 rows from the platform.
Mr. Graham's message was based on the parable in Luke 14 that tells of a great supper to which many were invited, but all made excuses for not coming. Mr. Graham compared this to the excuses people make for not coming to Christ.
I was one of those people who made excuses—even though I had been exposed to the Gospel as a child. My mother was a Christian who lived an exemplary life and took me to church and Sunday School. But I couldn't understand how one man's death could cover everyone's sins. Of course, I wasn't thinking of Jesus as God.
Also, I didn't think I was doing anything that was really "wrong." I just didn't understand the Gospel. Mr. Graham gave examples of things we accept without understanding them. For instance, we don't understand how electricity works, but that doesn't stop us from turning on the switch.
God used these illustrations to help me realize that He is not asking us to understand the Gospel—just to believe it (John 3:16). Mr. Graham's message opened my spiritual eyes. Both Kenneth and I invited Jesus Christ into our lives and were changed. We experienced the joy of our salvation, and we were eager for our family and friends to be saved also.
We invited friends to the Crusade. They all came on different nights, and they each accepted the Lord. Eager to learn more about the Bible, we started a Bible study at the YMCA.
At the time of our conversion, we were members of a very liberal church. Through the Crusade, we learned of a Bible-teaching church in our area, Bedford Central Presbyterian. We soon became members. I served as a Sunday school teacher for 35 years and, along with Kenneth, served as a youth leader for 26 years. A few of the young men who were in our youth group are now pastors, and others are very involved in their churches. We also led a Bible study in our home for about 30 years.
In 1992 I retired from teaching. Kenneth had retired from the police force several years before. God had laid on our hearts the need for a church library to help church family and friends in the study of God's Word and to promote their spiritual growth. God gave Kenneth just enough time to set up the library before he was incapacitated due to the effects of diabetes. The library was something God wanted us to start together. Kenneth went to be with the Lord in March 1998.
With God's help and the help of our staff, the library is still ministering to people's needs. We started with 300 books and now have more than 1,500, plus tapes and videos.
The Lord has been in my life for almost 48 years. He has helped me serve Him in the same church for most of those years. Each day I grow more thankful for the relationship I have with Jesus Christ. My children and grandchildren also know Him and serve Him, and for that I'm especially grateful. The Lord has been faithful to me.