Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                                                                                                                                                                                December 25, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                NO. 48


 The Best Deal I Every Made


His vanity tag proclaimed, “ISELLIT”. He was never shy about flashing his thick money clip and made no pretense - making money was what made him tick. The something happened to him on July 19, 2007 at the age of 71 and he has never been the same. He has become a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). 

If someone asked me to list family members who would be most likely to become a Christian, I would have put my uncle Bob near the bottom. He displayed no spiritual interest throughout his life but centered his goals on material success. Closing the next business deal was what life was about and he pursued each with ferocity. He relished in the fruits of his success. Twice a year he would travel to ‘Vegas for golfing and gambling. He was a social drinker who ended most days with a “night cap”. He was a worldly man.

There was one quality about my uncle however that was noteworthy. He was honest. He chewed out those that crossed him, but it would be hard to find anyone who said Bob Mullins ever cheated them.

A Mother’s Gift

In spite of his worldly bent, my uncle was attached to two spiritual lifelines: his mother, Grace and his brother and my father, Shirley. When my wise and godly grandmother died, she left Bob her Bible. She marked certain passages and scribbled beside it, “Bob, read this”. The family assumed he never did. We were mistaken.

Since obeying the gospel as a young man, my father has been instrumental in preaching for the church in my Virginia hometown. Through the years, Dad and Uncle Bob had business endeavors together. Their relationship has always been harmonious and built upon mutual respect. We all knew my father had tremendous influence with his brother, but none of us knew how much. My dad never crammed teaching down my uncle’s throat but would drop comments and questions along the way, much like seeds. None of us knew it but that heart of stone was softening with time.

In July 2007, we were jolted with the  news that uncle Bob had been diagnosed with advanced and aggressive prostate cancer. His treatment options were narrow, the prognosis unsure. On Wednesday, July 18, the doctor’s office called to schedule him for a series of tests that needed to be done the next day. The facility was ninety miles away. My uncle told them, “No, I’ll come on Friday. I have some unfinished business to tend to.”

A Brother’s Love

My father took the news of his brother’s disease especially hard. He arose on Thursday morning at 4:00 and was troubled. He knew he had to intensify his efforts in talking to Bob about the condition of his soul. He prayed and prayed. He got to a place of peace with his burden then went back to sleep. Meanwhile, Bod had not slept at all.

That morning my dad and uncle had planned to work on some rental property. My uncle had been driving around town nervously looking for him. When dad finally showed, Bob said, “Get in the car. We aren’t doing anything until we talk.” As they drove through town my uncle began to pour out his heart to his brother. “I’m not afraid to die,” he told my day, “but I am afraid to die, be lost, and go to hell.” Dad began to explain to him what would be involved with being a Christian. My uncle Bob piped up and said, “Do you have any problems with the conversion of the eunuch?” “No,” replied my father. “Then why don’t you take me down to the church house and baptize me?” And he did. After Bob was immersed those two brothers stood in the baptistery weeping and hugging.

A Changed Man

The next day Dad drove with Bob for the needed tests. I met them at the hospital and listened as my uncle explained, “I know that some people may say that I got scared with the cancer and that is why I did this. But the truth is I have been thinking about it for a long time. So what if I did do it because I might die? If I survive this then good, if not that’s okay, too. Even if I don’t make it, it will be the best deal I ever made. I’ve got my name in the Lamb’s book of life.” I knew I was looking at a changed man because I knew my uncle’s honesty and iron will. I couldn’t have dreamed however how drastic the transformation would be.

On the following Sunday uncle Bob was already at the church building when my parents arrived. Many were stunned to see him there and hear the news. That very day Uncle Bob started a habit with his new brothers and sisters - hugging and telling them he loved them. Yes, the ambitious and hard-nosed business man with jagged edges was now becoming a servant driven by the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14-15).

From the beginning he made it known he would do whatever he could to help. One Sunday morning there was a downpour and people got soaked leaving the assembly. The next Sunday the lobby was equipped with several large golfing umbrellas courtesy of the new brother. When an older or needy saint had a birthday or was having a hard time he would send them a card with a handwritten note and a green bill inside. The ‘Vegas casinos lost a loyal customer, but Hallmark gained one.

The list of acts of service could be longer. Then, there are his prayers. You can’t pray with him without crying with him. He has become a modern day son of encouragement in that little mountain church. Does one person make a difference? God Mullins has.

Will You Not Tell It Today?

He immediately began to talk to others about their soul. On the first Sunday his golfing friends were in the worship assembly with him. With just about everyone he meets, he talks about the Lord and His word. He shares his faith openly and is direct in asking others where they stand. He and my father make a quite formidable evangelism team.

He has become a devoted Bible student with an impressive knowledge. One night he came to hear me preach and was telling me about his practice of memorizing scriptures. He pulled out of his pocket a little piece of paper where he had scribbled the day’s passage. It’s not the money clip in his pocket that he cherishes anymore but the treasure of God’s truth (John 8:32).

Two very unique challenges have come his way. First, the treatments for his cancer have been quite effective. Yet, his good health has not made a difference in his commitment. He obeyed the gospel out of godly fear but has continued out of godly faith. Also, tragically his daughter passed away suddenly from a chronic illness two years after his baptism. I watched him weather the storm with complete trust in God. I cannot describe the spiritual strength I now draw from him.

The conversion and transformation of Bob Mullins leaves us with three lessons:

* You never know who will turn to God. Because many refuse the gospel it’s easy to be discouraged. Yet, Bob is an example of how we misread people. You wouldn’t think a worldly man in his seventies would change. Yet, it happened and can again.

* Never underestimate how much you are influencing others over time. My father’s influence over his brother was built over decades. It was a combination of his godly example and patient and wise teaching that showed his brother the way.

* We need more confidence in the power of the gospel to change lives. Do we understand the force that lies in the gospel which we live and preach? Those who knew Bob Mullins before see living proof of the power of the gospel (Rom. 1:16). Don’t let the world beat you into thinking that what we handle is a puny thing.

Uncle Bob’s favorite verse, which he can quote at any time, sums up his story as well as our hope... “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” - John 5:24

---Phillip Mullins

via BIBLICAL INSIGHTS, November 2011

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