Grandpa Luther was never at a loss for words, and often his words would cut through all the pretense of pride and focus on the main thing of Christianity, which is our witness for the Lord Jesus. When I was with Grandpa and Grandma, the two of them would invariably lead all conversations back to Christ and His redeeming work on the cross.
Grandpa never met a stranger, and he would often initiate the conversation with an unknown person by saying something like, ” I’ll bet you didn’t know that I have two birthdays. How many birthdays do you have?” Regardless of the answer, Grandpa used that opening line to give his natural date of birth, and then tell when he was born again into the Kingdom. His follow-up question was always, “Have you had your second birthday?” One of his favorite opening lines when he met a woman was, “I know Someone who loves you.” Usually she would ask, “Who is it?” Grandpa followed with, “Jesus loves you so much that He died on a cross to save you. Have you been saved?” It seemed that every encounter and every conversation led to Jesus.
Grandpa told me of an encounter with a man that he had while on a shopping trip with Grandma to “Walmarks” one Saturday afternoon. He always called the giant chain “Walmarks,” and to this day it is difficult for me to remember that it is “Wal-Mart”. Grandpa was waiting for her to finish shopping and was sitting on the bench in the foyer of the entrance. He said that “an old man” came in with his wife and while she shopped, he sat down beside him. I asked Grandpa just how old the “old man” really was, since Grandpa was in his late 80’s when he told me the story. He said in his usual loud voice, “Oh, I don’t know. Probably 50 or 60.” Grandpa was hard of hearing,despite wearing hearing aids, which I don’t think ever worked very well for him. The two of them sat without speaking for 5 or 6 minutes when Grandpa said loudly, “Where do you go to church?” The man said quietly, “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness.” Grandpa had no idea about Jehovah’s Witnesses nor their doctrine that they do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. To Grandpa, one was either lost or saved and was either a Christian or a non-Christian. When the man told Grandpa that he was a “witness for Jehovah”, Grandpa responded with, “You’re not much of a witness! We’ve been sitting here for over 5 minutes and you haven’t said a word about Jesus!” Grandpa said the “old man got up and left.”
In Grandpa’s world, everything was either black or white, and if you love Jesus and claim to be His witness, you need to be telling everyone around you how wonderful He is, and He will save you if you are lost. Grandpa and Grandma Luther lived and witnessed on a different level from any other Christians I have ever known, and that is the reason they led so many thousand souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. When I think about them and the effect of their ministry, I am convicted that what Grandpa said to that “old man at Walmarks” could also be said about me.