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Encourage: A reflection & a challenge

As I read the minutes of the 33rd annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, I found a pleasant surprise. The convention gathered in Shawnee, on Nov. 16-18, 1938.

Early in the minutes the Report of the Credentials Committee lists every registered messenger. Under the Bs, I notice two familiar names, Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Bivins. Can I tell you a little about Ray Bivins?

When Ray Bivins was a boy, he lived in Pottawatomie County. His mom and dad worked as tenant farmers scratching out a living.

A lady down the road taught children in Sunday School, and she began inviting Ray and his brother to her class. I imagine she developed a burden for these boys. They attended sporadically over a span of two or three years.

One spring, in a revival meeting, Ray Bivins heard a clear proclamation of the Gospel. That Sunday School teacher asked him if he wanted to give his life to Jesus and be saved. He nodded his head in agreement, and she walked the aisle with him; he turned from his sins and trusted Jesus as His Savior that day.

Not long after that, Ray’s family fractured. His father left his mother, so she loaded up her children and left the farm.

I imagine that Sunday School teacher might have thought all her work was wasted, but the Kingdom of God is like a seed on the good soil. The Lord Jesus continued to grow and shape that boy from a broken home. He grew into a man to be respected—a man I respected.

I remember my grandfather, Ray Bivins, presiding over big family gatherings. I remember him rising to give the Sunday School report before morning worship began. I remember, even as a small boy, sensing the fact that my church and my community respected my granddad. I have always benefited from the godly heritage that he established. He was even enough of a Baptist layman to go to the annual meeting at age 37!

Would you accept the following challenge?

There is a child in your community who needs to be saved. There is a child who would go to Sunday School if you would pick them up and take them. There is a child who would listen to you if you would tell them about Jesus.

Imagine the Kingdom impact you could have—the generational impact you could make—by embracing a burden for just one child this school year. I thank God for that lady in Pottawatomie County who embraced a burden for Ray Bivins.

…Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14).

Hance Dilbeck

Author: Hance Dilbeck

View more articles by Hance Dilbeck.

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