I have one remaining obligation here at the Alabama FWB Pastor’s and Worker’s Conference; and I think I’m going to speak from the prophet Zechariah and his vision of the Lampstand and Olive Trees in chapter 4. The key lessons in the passage are in verse 6: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” and in verse 10: “Do not despise the day of small things.”
Sometimes our work seems small and unimportant, but when ministry is done in the power of the Spirit, little is much!
That brings to mind the stry of Frank Jenner. One day in 1953, Rev. Francis Dixon was traveling and preaching in Bournemouth, England, when he met a British sailor with an unusual story. While on shore leave in Sydney, Australia, this sailor was approached by a man on George Street who asked him, “Young man, if you were to die tonight, where would you be, in heaven or hell?” After pondering that question for some time, the sailor eventually gave his life to Christ. The story of the sailor thrilled Rev. Dixon.
Shortly afterward, Dixon was amazed to hear a similar story coming from another sailor. While on shore leave in Sydney, this man, too, had been approached by a soul-winner on George Street who had asked him, if he should die that night, if he would go to heaven or hell. This sailor, too, had later been saved.
When Rev. Dixon visited Australia on a preaching tour, his first sermons were in the city of Adelaide, and during one of the meetings, he told the story of the two sailors. A man suddenly jumped to his feet and said, “I’m another! I’m another!”
Going on to Perth, Dixon again told the story. This time he was approached by the leader of the Christian Endeavour Society for Western Australia, who told him he had come to Christ through the witness of a street evangelist on George Street in Sydney who had asked him about his eternal destination.
By this time, Rev. Dixon was eager to get to the bottom of the story. Arriving in Sydney, he finally tracked down the man. The evangelist’s name was Frank Jenner. As Dixon related the testimonies of these converts, Jenner’s eyes filled with tears and he began praying and thanking the Lord.
Jenner confessed to Dixon that though he had been witnessing to ten people a day for sixteen years, this was the first time he had ever heard of any lasting results coming from his ministry. Earlier in life, he’d been addicted to gambling, a habit he’d acquired as a sailor. He’d also suffered a number of physical problems. But God had saved him and called him to the ministry of soul-winning. After coining his heaven-or-hell question in 1937, he had asked it to over 10,000 people. Now, after 16 years, he learned for the first time that God had blessed his efforts.
The story doesn’t stop there. A month later while Dixon was preaching in a Methodist Church in Keswick, England, another man approached him, saying, “I, too, was challenged by Mr. Jenner and now I am in a soul-winning work myself.” Four years later, in India, Dixon found another convert from George Street. All in all, Francis Dixon personally learned of ten people who had come to Christ as a result of Frank Jenner’s ministry—though the street evangelist himself had known nothing of the results. And only the Lord knows the ultimate number of converts that came from this on faithful worker.
Little is much when God is in it….
Not by might nor by power, but by the Holy Spirit.
PS – This story is told more fully in “The Frank Jenner Story” by Stephen Tucker, and in Jenner of George Street by Dr. Raymond Wilson.) You can also watch a video of it from Godtube.com .