The dresser of the vineyard wanted to give the fig tree a little more time and TLC before cutting it down…
Jeff Jones was in the hospital fighting a battle with leukemia when the Lord brought about an amazing miracle where over time we were able to see a family of 5 receive Christ as their Savior.
Jeff, my first husband, was going through a bone marrow transplant. It was intense to say the least.
The part of the hospital he was in was set off from the rest of the hospital. Everything was sterilized on another level. Visitors had to be healthy, wear masks, put gowns over their clothes, don shoe coverings and wash their hands in a sterilizing solution.
Bringing three children to see their father each weekend was definitely a process. But what a sweet time we had each week.
There were 12 patients in this ward undergoing bone marrow transplants. We spent 5 months on the leukemia ward with these patients. Some of them did not make it through their transplants. Most of them kept to themselves in their own rooms. Not Jeff. He visited and he witnessed as the Lord allowed.
The winning of the Craig family began when a singing group accompanied by Dr. and Mrs. Pete Cowling from our alma mater, Hyles-Anderson College, stopped by to visit us. They waited in the waiting room outside the leukemia ward. While they waited, they sang, witnessed and ministered to the families. This sweet group of ladies was able to lead a man and his two daughters to the Lord who had come from Massachusetts for the special experimental transplants they were only doing at this hospital. Their wife/mom was in the leukemia ward with her 12-year-old son, Michael. When she came out to the waiting room and learned that her husband and daughters had prayed trusting Christ as their Savior she was not just angry, she was livid.
After that, she never let Jeff go in and visit with Michael. She was not interested in hearing the gospel for herself and she did not want Michael to hear it either. Jeff desperately wanted to witness to Michael because he worried that he might not make it through the transplant. He began to pray for an opportunity.
One day when Colette went to run a few errands, Jeff visited Michael. Jeff told Michael, "Now you and I know that we might not make it." Jeff began to share with Michael about Heaven, God's free gift of eternal life. Michael listened to the gospel and sweetly received Christ as his Savior.
The bone marrow transplant was a success for Michael and he went home a few months later. Jeff never did get to witness to Colette, but he got their address and began to write to her.
Within 6 months after Michael got home we heard that he suddenly passed away. It was not from leukemia or from the transplant. Michael had appendicitis. The doctors thought it was a complication from the transplant and the misdiagnosis cost Michael his life. Jeff reached out to Colette again.
The miracle. When Michael was dying, Colette had Jeff's first letter in her hand. In that letter Jeff told Colette how Michael had received Christ and would spend eternity in heaven. He carefully explained the gospel. Wouldn't she like to be sure she would spend eternity in Heaven with Michael, her husband and daughters? As Michael was dying, Colette received Christ and wrote to Jeff letting him know.
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:5
In the passage after our key verse for today Jesus shares a parable about a fig tree planted in a vineyard. The owner wanted to dispose of it because it was not bearing fruit. The dresser of the vineyard wanted to give it a little more time and TLC before cutting it down.
Is there someone you don't want to lose? None of us are promised tomorrow for ourselves or for those we love. Are you praying for and seeking an opportunity to share the sweet news of the gospel?
Being co-laborers with Christ in the vineyard is worth the miracles, but it takes time and patience. Jesus, the ultimate dresser of the vineyard, works lovingly and patiently in our lives until we come to that place of repentance. His actions gently say, "I don't want to lose you."
Loser Bible Study Series Theme Verse:
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Mark 8:35
“Lose” from the Greek word “Apollymi” means “to destroy fully.” It is translated shall in Luke 13:5, our verse for today.