B. CALLING TO BIBLE SCHOOL
A BURNING BUSH EXPERIENCE
It is so important to edify oneself with sound spiritual teaching. Since we did not receive challenging teaching in our church, the Lord found other ways to supply in this need. My parents were attending meetings of the Africa Evangelistic Band and they benefited much spiritually. My mom then kept on prompting us to also attend these meetings which were held once a month on a Sunday afternoon.
Eventually we did so and were really stimulated in many areas of our Christian lives and also challenged in some areas. The centre of their teaching was holiness. They majored on this topic. Although, as I got to know the Word of God much better, I did not go along with all of their teaching, yet it stimulated us to iron out many little things in our lives that were contrary to the Word of God and I can say that we grew spiritually in a very positive way.
They also placed a very strong emphasis on every Christian going out and evangelising other people. That was also burning within my own heart. I immediately latched on to this teaching and did even more than before to reach out to other people. It could well have been that these messages stirred within me the possibility of going out into full-time service as an evangelist or as a missionary.
After some time they invited us to a camp they would be holding in the district of Carolina. That was in the month of July of the second year after we were saved. That means that it was about two years and eighteen months after I was saved. Martie of course, was saved a little bit later. We considered this invitation and eventually decided to go. At that stage such camps were actually unheard of. The churches never held camps like these. All their teaching was given on Sunday mornings and evenings within church buildings.
On reaching the campsite, we discovered that the accommodation was very primitive. We were accommodated in Army bell tents but at least beds were provided to sleep on.
Three or four meetings were held every day and Martie and I took turns in attending them for one of us had to look after Frans, who was just one year old. There was such a tremendous thirst in my heart for the Word of God and for the teaching that went out at that camp, that I just could not remain in the tent during any meeting, so when my turn came to look after our little boy, I would take him in my arms and stand outside the tent through all of the meeting just to be able to hear what was said inside.
I also watched the speakers very, very closely for they were actually challenging us to make a total commitment of ourselves to the Lord. I saw this as a tremendous burden, not realising how wonderful it would be to live a life like that. And because I saw it as a burden and not as a joy, I watched these people very closely to see if they were actually living the life which they advocated or if they were just preaching a life they themselves were not living. Their conduct made a very good impression on me. I could see much of the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives. It was as if I could almost see into their hearts, into their spirits and what I saw there was good, and was in agreement with what they preached.
In between meetings, I spent much time in prayer. There were a number of bluegum trees in the area and I went there, knelt down and poured my heart out to God, praying and praying, confessing sins of which I was aware and just really committing my life to Him. I do not think there was all that much wrong in my life but I was just surrendering completely. I was saying: “Lord, here I am, I am giving myself to you completely. I don’t know exactly what that means and where it’s going to take me, but I really want to be inwardly completely committed to You, handed over to You”. So that was my state of mind. (That was shortly after I had given up smoking.)
Then one night, towards the end of those meetings which lasted for about a week, I was attending the evening meeting. The message was about going out and preaching the Gospel. In closing, the preacher invited those that felt the Lord had spoken to them, to step forward. I did so and stood in front of the pulpit. The commitment I had in mind was to utilize every opportunity and devote all my spare time to the salvation of others. I was the only one that responded to the altar call. The preacher prayed with me, then quoted from Acts chapter 1:4 that reads: “You must tarry in Jerusalem until you have been endued with power from on high.”
After the meeting I went back to our tent, lit a candle, opened my Bible and read from it as I normally did before going to bed. What I read was the following Scripture (II Timothy 4:1-5): “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His Kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
The impact of this Scripture upon me was overwhelming. I had probably read it scores of times, but this time God used it to speak to me personally as He had spoken to Moses at the burning bush. I had just committed myself openly, at the altar, witnessed by all those people of God, to preach the Gospel and now this Scripture: “I charge you, preach the Word at all times even though it will bring hardship. You are called to be an evangelist. Discharge all the duties pertaining to this office.”
I immediately knew that this was the Almighty God speaking to me, Ben Lubbe, specifically. I knew that He was telling me to resign from my job and go out to do His work full-time for the rest of my life. I was totally stunned, firstly by the fact that the almighty Creator of heaven and earth would stoop down and speak to me personally. Was God really so fully engaged with each and every minute little human being? It was like the President of the USA picking up the phone, phoning one of the lowest unemployed members of society, speaking to him personally and telling him to report to the White House for service. I had never thought that God would call me into His service in a full-time capacity. Me? Why me? It all happened in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, but the next moment I heard myself replying: “Lord, I am willing to go but I am not ready. Please prepare me and lead me out when You consider me to be ready.” In that dazed state of mind and soul but with peace in my heart, I went to bed.
At the close of the meetings we returned to our home in Pretoria and I continued with my work as usual. Did I tell Martie what had transpired between me and the Most High? No, I needed time to digest it, to get used to it, to let it settle down in my spirit, to see myself in that role, to begin to trust the Lord for finances, to think of all the consequences and to rise above them by faith. To ask your wife to take her baby in her arms, step out of the boat of relative security so that you may together walk the stormy waves at the command of Christ, is something you do not do in a hurry.
RAISE YOUR HAND AND SHOUT: “LORD, HERE AM I, SEND ME!”
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