In 1966, I joined Operation Mobilization for a year of ministry in France, but spent two years in India instead. While in London in the summer of ‘66 at a one-month OM orientation, I volunteered to work on a clean-up crew late one night. Around 12:30 am, I was sweeping the front steps of the conference center when an older gentleman approached and asked if this was the OM conference. I told him it was, but that almost everyone was in bed.
He had a small bag with him and was dressed very simply. He said he was attending the conference, so I said, “Let me see if I can find you a place to sleep.” Since there were many different age groups at OM, I thought he was an older OMer. I took him to the room where I had been sleeping on the floor with about 50 others and seeing that he had nothing to sleep on laid some padding and a blanket on the floor and gave him a towel for a pillow. He said it would be fine and that he appreciated it very much.
As he was preparing for bed, I asked him if he had eaten. He had not, as he had been traveling all day. I took him to the dining room, but it was locked, so after picking the lock, I found corn flakes, milk, bread, butter and jam – all of which he thanked me for.
As he ate and we began to fellowship, I asked where he was from. He said he and his wife had been working in Switzerland for several years in a ministry mainly to hippies and travelers. It was wonderful to talk to him and hear about his work and those who had come to Christ. When he finished eating, we turned in for the night.
The next day I was in trouble! The leaders of OM really got on my case. “Don’t you know who that man is on the floor next to you? It is Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the speaker for the conference!” I did not know we were going to have a speaker, nor did I know who Francis Schaeffer was, nor did I know they had a special room for him!
After Francis Schaeffer became well known because of his books and I had read more about him, I thought about this occasion many times – this gracious, kind, humble man of God sleeping on the floor with OM recruits! This was the kind of man I wanted to be.
Of course, I will never obtain the intellect, knowledge, or wisdom of Francis Schaeffer, but I can reach out to younger people and humbly minister to them in Christ’s name by living a life of humility. What about you?