Text Illustrations

Becky Pippert, is a Christian author from Naperville, Illinois.

While doing campus ministry she met a student named Bill on a college campus in Portland, Oregon. Bill was brilliant, and always looked like he was pondering something deep. He had messy hair, and the entire time she knew him, she never saw him wear a pair of shoes. Rain, sleet, or snow, Bill was always barefoot. While he was attending college, he had become a Christian.

At this time, a well-dressed, middle-class church across the street from the campus wanted to develop more of a ministry to the students. They weren’t sure how to go about it, but they tried to make them feel welcome. One day Bill decided to worship there. He walked into this church wearing his blue jeans, T-shirt and of course no shoes.

People looked a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything. So Bill began walking down the aisle looking for a seat. The church was quite crowded that Sunday, so as he got down to the front pew and realized there were no seats, he just squatted on the carpet – perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, but perhaps unnerving for a buttoned-down church congregation. The tension in the air became so thick one could slice it.

Suddenly an elderly man began walking down the aisle toward the boy. Was he going to scold Bill? Becky’s friends who saw him approaching said they thought "You can’t blame him. He’d never guess Bill is a Christian. And his world is too distant from Bill’s to understand. You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do."

As the man kept walking slowly down the aisle, the church became utterly silent. All eyes were focused on him. You couldn’t hear anyone breathe.

When the man reached Bill, with some difficulty he lowered himself and sat down next to him on the carpet. He and Bill worshipped together on the floor that Sunday. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

SOURCE: From Rebecca Manley Pippert. Out of the Saltshaker & into the World : Evangelism As a Way of Life. Intervarsity Press, 1999. p 260.

Related Text Illustrations

Related Sermons