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Come and See

“Come and See”

John Paul Carter

Our church’s emphasis this month on sharing our faith has reminded me of my friend, Ben Galloway, who died in 2000. By trade, Ben was a contractor, skilled carpenter, and cabinet maker. Cuppett Hall was built under his supervision. He was my friend and Sunday School teacher – the Friendship Class is named in honor of Ben and his wife Betty. But more than that, Ben was one of the most gracious, generous, caring Christians I've ever known.

One night in 1999, Ben was rushed to a Fort Worth Hospital in critical condition. When I arrived at the hospital the next day, his room was crowded with family and friends. Outside, the waiting room and the corridor were filled with people who had come to offer Ben and Betty their support. And people just kept coming!

Although I only stayed fifteen minutes, in that short time three different people told me how Ben's friendship and witness had changed their lives. In their own way, each one confessed that they didn't know where they would be that day had it not been for him.

Each of the three had met Ben outside of the church - either because he had done work for them or befriended them in some way. At crucial times in their lives, because he was more than a carpenter, Ben had given them support, love, and encouragement. As a result, through his quiet concern and example, they had not just been drawn to Ben but also to his Lord.

Ben’s story reminds me of how Saint Augustine was led to faith by Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan. The scornful young Augustine had gone to hear the famous preacher out of curiosity, with no intention of being converted. To his surprise, Ambrose received him with fatherly kindness.

Over time, because of the Bishop’s evident care for the young skeptic, the truth of his life and words began to penetrate Augustine’s defenses. Later in his Confessions, Augustine wrote: "To him was I unknowingly led by Thee, that by him I might knowingly be led to Thee." What a beautiful way of describing God's gracious ways with us!

John's gospel says that Jesus' first invitation to his would-be disciples was "come and see" (1:39). Later, when Nathaniel skeptically quipped that nothing good could come out of Nazareth, his brother Phillip, echoing Jesus' words, responded, "Come and see!" (1:46).

Like Ben, Ambrose, and even Jesus, our faith is best shared through relationships. It’s not about arguing, persuading, or even using “the right words.” Being a witness, at its heart, is about living with such integrity and compassion that our lives invite others to “come and see” the Lord for themselves.

Father, help us to live inviting lives. Amen.

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