For the last couple of weeks I’ve been talking about my family’s recent trip to Shipshewana, IN. Last week I spoke about some barn wood that had been reclaimed from the fires of the trash heap and turned into something beautiful. This week I want to talk about someone who has a similar story.
As I said before, in Shiphshewana we enjoyed the delicious pretzels at “Ben’s Soft Pretzels.” While there, it was immediately obvious that the owners of this establishment had a very strong faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. It was clear in the signs on the walls, the conduct of the employees and in the music being played. I commented on this as I struck up a conversation with Jerry, the business developer for Ben’s. As we talked, I learned that he had a beautiful personal story of being reclaimed. Jerry had grown up in the Amish community. However, as Jerry started to study the Word of God, he discovered truths that consumed him. He learned that he was freely forgiven by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit took hold of Jerry and filled him more and more as he studied the Word of God more and more. Jerry started inviting family, friends and acquaintances to join him in studying the precious truths of God’s Word. Unfortunately, Jerry’s fervor was not appreciated by the broader Amish community. In fact, he was eventually shunned and was told that his current path was leading him to the fires of hell.
This, however, didn’t quell the Spirit and deter Jerry’s fervor to continue studying God’s Word and receiving the joy of the Gospel in that Word. Jerry’s certainty of heaven for Jesus’ sake was stronger than ever. It spilled over in all of his life including his work at Ben’s. It’s this zeal for the Lord, Jesus that is so gloriously evident at Ben’s and in Jerry’s personal life.
Jerry had been reclaimed! He had been shunned and condemned to destruction in hell. However, Jesus had a different message for Jerry. Jesus had gone through hell in Jerry’s place. Jesus freely forgave Jerry of all his sins and assured him of a place in heaven forever. The resultant joy in Jerry’s life couldn’t be contained. All glory be to God for His incomparable grace!
So, if you ever stop in at “Ben’s Soft Pretzels” in Shipshewana, look up Jerry and tell him I said “Hi.” AND, most of all, join with Jerry and me and all who know Jesus as Savior as we proclaim His glorious Good News without fear!