Vital signs- Thursday, August 12th, 2021
After both of his sons enlisted in the Army to fight in World War II, Henry Gerecke, the pastor of a small church in Missouri, volunteered to join the Army as a chaplain. In addition to his skill with the Word of God, Gerecke spoke fluent German. He was often called on to work with German prisoners as the Army moved forward.
When the war ended, the Army asked Gerecke to serve as chaplain to the members of the German high command facing trial at Nuremberg. Some Americans opposed the idea, believing that war criminals like Herman Goering and Alfred Jodl did not deserve spiritual comfort. But Gerecke answered the call, even though doing so meant another year away from his wife and home. Eleven of the twenty-one tried at Nuremberg were sentenced to death. Gerecke continued to witness and minister to them up to the day of their execution. He later wrote that four of them “died as penitent sinners trusting God’s mercy for forgiveness. They believed in Jesus who shed His blood for their sins.”
Most of us do not face the challenge of sharing the gospel with hardened criminals who have the blood of multiplied thousands on their hands. Yet, in truth, every sinner, whether his sins are small or great in our eyes, stands condemned to death and eternity in Hell apart from God’s grace. Let us never fail to witness to anyone because of fear or prejudice.
There are no people whose sins are so severe that the grace of God cannot save them; we should boldly witness to all.
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”
Acts 4:29-31 ESV