Every day Johnson Kell visits is a good day. Today was a good day. Though we were initially talking about some sad and depressing matters happening currently within churches of Christ and particularly a west coast university traditionally affiliated with the church, Johnson cannot help but talk about good and wonderful things he’s seen and experienced within God’s family. He told the true story of how one positive experience has made such a ripple effect within our wonderful brotherhood. It centers around a young man steeped in a denomination but dissatisfied with their teaching. He had a friend, a love interest, who was from Wyoming. She attended a funeral in Casper and was so impressed by what was said and done by the local church of Christ there that she was converted. She told this young man, who had moved to work on a golf course in Ventura, California, where Johnson and Dorothy was attending at the time, about the church. He visited. The Ventura preacher, Floyd Davis, studied with Ken, who obeyed the gospel. Ken went on to marry, not the Wyoming girl, but another young woman attending with him at Harding University. He went on to get his doctorate degree in Texas and has built a fine Christian home.
That story by itself shows the power of the gospel upon an honest and open heart. When someone is searching for truth, he or she will find it! If one has no interest in God’s truth, no amount of persuasion or argumentation may be enough. The gospel still works, however dark our world seems to be getting.
Yet, as beautiful as anything I’ve ever seen is a heart seasoned by decades of trial and triumph. As Johnson relayed this story to me, he choked up several times in his elation over the conversion of the young woman and the young man. Never have I known one as touched by the gospel and its positive effects on others as Johnson is. Get him to talk about the cross of Calvary, heaven’s plan of salvation, the joy of Christian fellowship, or any such similar subject and tender emotion will follow. Listen to him pray. Tap into his vast reservoir of memories of the church and you get a transparent view of beautiful faith. Spend any length of time with Johnson and you know he’s spent lengthy time with Jesus. Every time we part company, I pray, “Lord, let my faith shine like Johnson’s.” Hebrews 13:7 seems to be speaking of elders, but the principle applies to this former elder: “Considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (7b). When it comes to Johnson’s life (and all those like him), that’s my advice!