I had a graveside service this past Thursday for Beverly James, age 72. She and her husband and four children moved to Pipe Creek near Libby in 1960. Eight more children were born here. A couple, Lou and Nora May Auge, who had been saved in Libby during the mid 1950’s at a Youth For Christ rally began going up to the James’ home on Sunday afternoons to conduct a Sunday school. They took their three daughters with them. Also joining in was a sister of Beverly’s, Roberta Sichting, and her children, so they had a pretty good-sized group! One day, Nora May went up to visit with Beverly and shared the plan of salvation. Beverly trusted Christ for eternal life.
It was about then that we moved back from Oregon to join Rocky Mountain Bible Mission and work in Northwest Montana under my wife’s dad, Pastor Clarence Kutz. The Kutzes had moved to Libby at the invitation of the Auges and others, to begin a church which initially met in the Auges’ home. The group soon grew and rented the Grange Hall and then purchased property to build Faith Bible Church. When Pastor Kutz retired from Faith Bible, he joined RMBM and I came to be an apprentice under him. We had Bible studies throughout the area and I had a youth group near Troy and one with Pipe Creek and Faith Bible young people. So, I had several Jameses and Sichtings in the youth group. One of the James girls, Brenda, went on to join RMBM and has worked with them now for more than 30 years! We also conducted vacation Bible schools up Pipe Creek, usually at the James’ home or in their cow pasture!
Oh, there was also a RMBM church started up Pipe Creek which held services for several years during which a number of other folks in the area received Christ. The church eventually had to close and the James family went in town to a baptist church, where David, the dad, who then had cancer, also received Christ before he died. So he and his wife have now been reunited in heaven, and it is largely due to the faithfulness of a Libby logger (who spent most of his working career as a sawyer in the woods) and his wife taking the time to conduct a Sunday afternoon Bible class in a home up Pipe Creek. Lou Auge is also in heaven and I’m sure was excited to see Beverly James. Nora May is still with us and she a couple of her daughters were at the graveside service.
I will have to say that I too am grateful to the Auges, because they are indirectly responsible for my meeting my wife, since it was Lou and Nora May who were instrumental in getting the Kutzes here to start Faith Bible Church, where I met Kathy!
I’m reminded of something that the Apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth. He said, “Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy (faithful)” (I Cor. 4:1,2). God primarily uses just plain, ordinary folks to do a very extraordinary work. All He requires is faithfulness. The Greek word, “pistos,” that Paul used means “trustworthy, faithful, sure, true.” Earlier in his letter, Paul wrote this: “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world, and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, that just as it is written, let Him who boasts, boast in the LORD” (I Cor. 1:26-31).
You don’t have to be a Bible school or seminary graduate to be effective for Christ. You just need to be available and faithful, and have a love for God, His Word, and for the souls of people. I praise the Lord for folks like the Auges. They were new Christians, excited about the Lord, and were willing to faithfully share Him with others. As a result, we see a lot of fruit from their labors. May their tribe increase!
Never underestimate the importance and value of ministering to others, even if it is just one family. Don’t forget what Jesus did with one sack lunch–He fed thousands of people, with twelve baskets of leftovers! Just be willing to offer to Him what you have and watch what He can do with it. Just be faithful. It is His job to produce the fruit.
So, what are you doing for Jesus? What do you have that you can offer for Him to use?