217 – The Man in Room 3330
Word had spread throughout the hospital about Ken, the upbeat 80 year old man in room 3330. His buoyant, cheerful attitude was infectious among the hospital staff. Ken was my best friend. We had lunch weekly for 32 years.
One morning a doctor appeared at the door of his hospital room and read his chart. After looking it over he said to Ken, “I wonder if I could talk to you for a minute?” He was not one of Ken’s doctors.
“Sure, what’s on your mind,” Ken replied.
He said, “Well, I’ve heard about you around the hospital, and I’d like to know how it is that you, at your age, with the difficulties you’re having, can be so upbeat and cheerful?”
Ken answered, “I would be happy to tell you but, first, you tell me, how do you find your enjoyment?”
“To tell you the truth,” the doctor said, “I really don’t have much enjoyment. I had a plane and I thought that would do it. But that didn’t work. Now we have a boat, but that doesn’t seem to work either. I’ve got a big income. That’s really brought me no lasting satisfaction.”
Ken said, “I know what you’re going through. In my lifetime the only thing that I’ve ever found that has provided me any lasting peace and satisfaction is a relationship with Jesus Christ.” About that time, Maria, an Hispanic maid about fifty years old, entered the room. Ken had spoken with her on several previous occasions. She wrung out her mop and started working on the other side of the bed from where the doctor stood. Maria was the lowest person in the hospital. She would work for the next twenty years to earn as much as this doctor would make in the current year.
Ken said, “Maria, can you come here please?” She looked up and her peaceful countenance radiated sunshine throughout the room. Then Ken said to the doctor, “I want you to look into Maria’s face,” for she had a beautiful face and lovely smile. “She has what I’m talking about. Do you see it?”
The three of them fell quiet. The doctor looked into Maria’s face. Ken and Maria alternated glances between each other and the doctor. Ken could peer into the doctor’s mind. Yes, this doctor saw what Maria had. It was transparent that what she had was the thing for which he had been searching. It was clear that he wanted what Maria and Ken had found. It was a poignant, spiritual moment.
“Maria,” Ken finally said. “Do you have the Lord in your life?” It seemed impossible, but Maria beamed even more broadly and said, “Oh yes, I love my Jesus Christ.” Ken thanked her and she continued with her chores.
Over the span of fifteen minutes, Ken told this restless doctor that many years before he had felt the same way. “One Monday morning,” he said, “I cried out to God to come into my life, forgive my sins, and give my life meaning. Blinded by tears, I had to pull over to the side of the road. That morning I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.
“All I ever asked Him to give me was peace and joy. He answered my prayer, and that’s why you’re in here right now trying to find out what’s going on. What I want to encourage you to do is go find a quiet place and cry out to Jesus Christ. Tell Him what’s in your heart. Ask Him to forgive your sins and surrender your life to Him in faith. In five more minutes you’ll be gone from here, tomorrow I’ll go home, and we’ll never see each other again. But this is the one thing that can change your life and bring you peace.”
Adrian Rogers, a famous 20th century Baptist pastor, once went on a mission trip to Romania. Over the course of two weeks he bonded with his interpreter, but hadn’t learned much about his thoughts. So toward the end of the trip he asked, “Tell me, what do you think of American Christians?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” came the strange reply. This, of course, only made Dr. Rogers more curious, so he began to press him for an answer.
After several attempts he finally said, “Why won’t you tell me? I really want to know.”
Finally, the interpreter capitulated. “Well, okay then, but you’re not going to like my answer. I don’t think you Americans understand what Christianity is all about. Back in the 1960s you started to use the word ‘commitment’ to describe your relationship with Christ. However, any time a word comes into usage, another word goes into disuse.”
He continued, “Until the 1960s you Americans talked about ‘surrender’ to Christ. Surrender means giving up control, turning over all to the Master Jesus. By changing to the word ‘commitment’ your relationship with Christ has become something you do, therefore you are able to keep control. Surrender means giving up all rights to one’s self. You Americans don’t like to do that so, instead, you make a commitment.”i
Have you truly surrendered–not just committed–your life to Jesus Christ? Maybe you have “prayed a sinner’s prayer,” maybe not. Maybe you surrendered in the past, but you have taken back control of your life. In any case, be sure to settle this issue before you set down this book.
You can surrender, or re-surrender, your life by humbly telling God in your own words that you desire to yield control of your life to Him in repentance and faith or, if you wish, you can pray this prayer….
If you’ve just surrendered or re-surrendered your life, congratulations. The surrendered life is the foundation under everything. Let me add one suggestion. Because I am a rebel, as most men are, I realized that I must each day come humbly to the foot of the Cross in a spirit of repentance and faith, and once again make a full, total, complete surrender of my life to the Lordship of Jesus. That’s the deal. Let me encourage you to also practice daily surrender. If someone forwarded this article to you, let them know if you surrendered your life. In any case, be sure to get with some other surrendered men and figure out how they do it.
|iAdrian Rogers, personal correspondence, 1998.|