I never care how small an audience may be when I speak at an event. I owe that lack of concern to a young lady I met almost half a century ago—months before I became a believer—whom I talked with for maybe 15 minutes then never saw again in my life.
Her name was Adrian Thatcher, and I met her on a bus while headed down Santa Monica Blvd. returning from the beach to my apartment in the summer of 1973. I was long-haired and hip, looking for love. She was reading her Bible, and her only interest in me was in telling me about Jesus.
I remember almost nothing of the conversation except that she went to a Bible study Wednesday evenings in Westwood Village at a place she called the Light House, or something like that. My interests with her were not spiritual, though, so I dismissed it.
Months later, however—as an exuberant, spiritually hungry baby Christian—I remembered Adrian’s comment. Through another odd “coincidence,” I stumbled upon the Jesus Christ Light and Power House—a vibrant “Jesus person” community and ad hoc Bible school located in a former fraternity house on the outskirts of the UCLA campus. Within four months, I’d moved in.
For two and a half years, I was vigorously discipled—studying the Bible under seminary-trained teachers, learning apologetics, doing street evangelism, working on summer-long outreach projects in Waikiki, and going behind the Iron Curtain for Christ.
My years at the Light and Power House fixed the trajectory of my Christian life forever—all because of a few short moments of faithfulness by a young Christian named Adrian Thatcher. And Adrian, wherever she is, has no idea how much she’s influenced my life—or the world I’ve had an influence on, by God’s grace, since then.
Here is the lesson I learned from that encounter. No matter how small my audience (Adrian had an audience of one), I never know when my own short moment of faithfulness will turn out to be the hinge pin, the turning point in someone else’s life, the small event that changes everything for them from that day forward.
What’s true for me as an individual is true for us as an organization and true for you as an individual ambassador for Christ. It’s hard to quantify the true extent of any person’s influence. We may prepare for each contingency in a conversation, pray through each encounter, and profess the truth with care. We may talk, engage, and cajole. We may witness with great patience, clarity, and grace, yet fail to see a measurable effect.
At Stand to Reason we are not especially burdened by this fact because long ago we decided to let faithfulness be our focus, not results. Yes, Adrian had an audience of just one. But the most important audience wasn’t really me. It was the audience of the One whom she served.
That’s our priority, too—not to hear applause from the multitudes but rather to hear a solitary voice from One saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The greatest human thanks we get is when you pay it forward, serving quietly, often in the dark, often not knowing the true extent of your impact—going out in obedience, doing what is right, speaking what is true, laboring faithfully before your audience of One. You take what you have—your skills, your gifts, your capabilities, your opportunities—and place it in the hands of the Savior, like these friends are doing:
“STR has been a huge contributor to my growth as a believer, both spiritually and intellectually. I am tremendously better equipped to talk about issues with other Christians and with non-Christians. I’ve shared/given your materials to many others. I thank our Lord for your devotion and service to him.”
“STR showed me as a youth that my Christian faith was not just because my dad was a pastor, but that there are facts that show the truth and I can understand them.”
Your faithfulness in prayer and giving makes it all possible. For example, in the first five months of 2019 we had two fabulous reTHINKs—in Dallas and Birmingham (in the fall we continue the momentum in SoCal plus launch our Midwest regional in Minneapolis)—we hired a new speaker, made great progress on our new website, produced lots of new videos, and sent speakers to five different countries.
Because you have been kind to us, we’re able to be here for you—laboring on for you—so that you might be an Adrian Thatcher in someone else’s life. Your generosity—as well as that of our other faithful friends—makes it possible to equip tens of thousands with the knowledge, wisdom, and character they need to effectively share Christ’s hope.
We are so grateful for you! Thank you for partnering with us at STR. Together we are making an eternal difference in the lives of so many!