'Christians are needed in every sphere of life'
Russell’s story | In stockbroking and in hospital, God is at work!
“I’m in hospital at the moment, awaiting an operation for pancreatic cancer. But it’s an opportunity. I dwell on the Scriptures, and I talk to the nurses. Most of them know nothing about Jesus. They’re young, and they’re thinking about their career paths. They’re not thinking about the life hereafter at all, even though they see people going there all the time. They haven’t given that life even a thought.
I was born in 1938, and at age 9 I went to a Christian boarding school in Armidale. I started to have a belief in Jesus from that point. We had a wonderful chaplain who’d been in the trenches in the first world war and seen a lot of life. I admired him. We had prayers every morning and a lot of Christians around us. I think the truth of the Gospel just attached itself to me. When I left school, I made a point of attending church every week. That’s what kept me going – being perpetually surrounded by the Gospel. And I married a lovely Christian girl, Margot. We’ve been together more than 60 years!
But my moment of change came when I joined the Gideons in 1984. I became part of a world where we saw the Lord at work. I joined others committed to prayer, giving out Bibles and being a Christian witness. We would meet weekly to be fortified in our faith, and we saw the Lord use us.
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We received thousands of letters, all of them reminding us that when people read the Scriptures it changes lives. Every time, of course, we gave out a Bible, we didn’t know what the Lord would do. We always scattered them in faith, trusting that his Word wouldn’t return void, as it says in Isaiah 55:11.
“One year, in 1992, I gave a Bible to a friend of mine at work: Ian.” – Russell
Over the years, I must have given out hundreds of Bibles. I generally give them out in appreciation of people. I say thank you to the person for a favour they’ve done for me, and then I tell them the Bible is a small token of my appreciation. In 40 years, I’ve only ever had one knock back.
One year, in 1992, I gave a Bible to a friend of mine at work: Ian. We were in our fifties, working in stockbroking. At first, he said he didn’t need it, but then he took it.
A few years later, he wrote to me to say he’d had strange promptings to go to church. Then he read the Bible, and came to Christ. He asked if he could have another one. He went on to Bible College, and became a lay preacher. It was very encouraging!
In stockbroking, it’s all about the dollars. How do you make more dollars? But Christians are needed in every sphere of life, including finance. I stayed in broking from age 23 to 81. I enjoyed it. It was a career and an opportunity to share the Gospel. Of course, the Lord breaks down barriers without any trouble at all!
“I’m going into major surgery, but I’m not afraid.”
Right now, as I said, I’m in hospital. While I’ve been here, I’ve given out 13 Bibles to different nurses.
I find it’s also an opportunity to tell them I’m not afraid. I’m going into major surgery, but I’m not afraid. Margot and I are both content with whatever the outcome is. If I survive this cancer, that will be okay. If I don’t survive it, that will also be okay. I know where I’m going! The nurses tend to be surprised. It’s not what they normally hear!
I think that wherever we are, there are avenues for ministry. And it’s never about me. The Lord is the one who works! This week, I’ve been reading Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
It’s always wonderful to dwell in the Scriptures, and the truth is that God saves us. He rejoices over us with singing!”
Russell’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click to read more Faith Stories. Last week we heard Ian’s story – the same Ian who received a Bible from Russell. Click to read about the “strange promptings” of Ian’s story.