In the war years I found it wise to avoid train journeys via London, and so on my periodical trips to East Anglia I chose the route from Birmingham across the Eastern Countries, on the occasion in mind I was, as often, alone in the carriage until joined, at an intermediate station, by two extremely pleasant U.S.A. officers.
After a short while one of them turned to me and asked “Does this train go direct to London?” Replying that it did not do so, I explained at what station they should change. He then said “We have never been in London; could you tell us what places of interest we could fit into a long week-end?” “Of course,” I replied, “that is a matter of taste. Tell me what you are interested in and I may be able to help you.” They were interested in art and it was not difficult to give them the necessary directions. The conversation continued and eventually one of them asked “Do you go often to London, sir?” “Yes – fairly often.” “What places of interest attract you?” was the next question, to which I answered, “That again is a matter of taste.” Quite obviously that drew the enquiry “May we ask what your tastes are?” “Well, I sometimes have business to do there, but more often I attend a gathering of Christians where we read and speak of God’s Word together.”
It was evident that this remark roused no antagonism, on the contrary a free and happy conversation on eternal things ensued, unfortunately shortened by the fact that they were approaching the station at which they must change trains. I handed them a few small articles of some artistic merit –the production of the Company with which I was associated – together with a booklet or two in which the way of salvation was made clear. I also gave my address card to one of them. As they left me I could only commend them to God – two fine young fellows, hoping that some small seed sown might produce results in blessing.
Many months afterwards I received a letter from America written by a Lieutenant S – who reminded me of the conversation we had enjoyed together on that journey. It appears that very soon after our contact they were drafted to France and were soon in the firing line. His comments were that in the presence of danger and death he had drawn comfort from the One of whom the booklets spoke. For some time we corresponded at intervals, but during the Korean War I lost contact with him. I trust the work was real and that he had really committed himself to the Saviour of whom we spoke; that he had tasted something of the grace and love that brought the precious Saviour – our Lord Jesus Christ, from the heavenly glory to die on Calvary that we might know the blessedness of sins forgiven.
May I enquire of the reader “What are your tastes?” Many and varied are the pleasures and attractions of this world, some quite respectable and harmless in themselves, but do they really satisfy? Do they help us to face the crises and dangers of life? His interest in art, interesting as that doubtless was, was not that from which our American friend drew comfort on the battlefield. NO – it was “the One of whom the booklets spoke.” That One is the Lord Jesus Christ – He who died on Calvary that, cleared from sin and guilt, we may be free to enjoy the endless pleasures which He, as risen from the dead, delights to give freely to those who know Him as Saviour and Lord.
For centuries countless thousands of men and women, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, with different tastes, have one blessed thing in common – they have found in the Lord Jesus a real living Friend, ever able to fill and satisfy the heart. Will you make room for Him in your life?
From “Personal Evangelism”
By F.A. H