I dare say that none of these ever realized how important these writings were to become in the years to follow. The apostle Paul could not have possibly comprehended the extent of the ministry of even one of his epistles at the time he was writing it. He was simply writing letters to friends and groups of believers with whom he was aquainted, including those he himself had won to the Lord and the churches he had organised.
So, never underestimate the ministry of the written word! These Epistles of the apostles have been duplicated by the billions for nearly 2000 years, by means of the printed page. What would we have done without the Bible? And how wonderful it is that we have gotten to know the Author through His words to us.
I'm reminded of a true story I heard when I was young, about a boy named Tommy. Tommy was a crippled newsboy, who's mangled body lay on a pallet by the third story window of an old building overlooking a busy city street. One day he asked a friend to bring him,"the book about the man that went everywhere doing good." The friend searched a long time until one book dealer recognized that he must be talking about the Bible, and the story of Jesus! The tiny lad scraped together what few pennies he had and bought a copy of the New Testament, which he rushed back to Tommy.
They began to read it together, until Tommy was saved through the words that he read in the book, and he too wanted to do good, like the man in the book...but he as crippled, and could not leave his third floor window. So, he prayed and asked God to help him, and the Lord showed him a plan!
He began to scribble helpful verses from the Bible on scraps of paper, which he would then drop out the window to flutter to the street below. Passers-by would see them, and curiously pick them up to see what they were, only to read the words of the man who went around everywhere doing good...Jesus! Many were helped, encouraged,comforted and even saved through the ministry of this lad and his Bible.
One day, a wealthy businessman was saved through reading one of these verses. After finding Jesus, he returned to the spot where he had found the tiny scrap of paper, seeking some key as to how it got there. Suddenly, he noticed another bit of paper fluttering to the sidewalk from above. He watched as a poor, tired old woman stooped painfully to pick it up, and noticed her countenance brighten as she read it.
The businessman, now transfixed to the spot, kept his eyes upward, determined to find the source. He had to wait some time, for it took Tommy several minutes to scrawl out even one verse on his bits of paper. But then, his eyes were drawn to a certain window, and he saw a thin, scrawny hand reach out and drop a piece of paper, just like the one that had brought him a whole new life! He carefully noted the location, and dashed up the stairs, and finally found the tiny room of Tommy the sidewalk missionary!
He and Tom immediately became friends, and he brought Tom all the help and medical attention that he could. Finally one day he asked Tom if he would like to come and live with him in his palatial mansion outside the city.
Much to his new friend's surprise, Tom answered, "I'll have to ask my Friend about it."...meaning Jesus! The next day the businessman returned, eagerly awaiting Tom's reply. Oddly, Tom asked him some questions: "Where did you say your home is?" "Oh," said the businessman, "it's far out in the country, on a large estate. You'll have a beautiful room, and servants to care for you, delicious meals, a good bed, every comfort and attention and anything your heart desires. My wife and I will love you dearly, and rear you as our own son."
Hesitantly, Tom querried again,"Are there any folks that would pass under my window ?" Surprised, and somewhat baffled, the businessman replied,"Why, no, only the occasional gardener or servant. You don't understand, Tommy, this is a gorgeous estate, way out in the country, far from the busy noise of the city and all those people! You'll have quiet there, and be able to rest, and read, away from all this filth."
After a long and thoughtful silence, Tom's face looked very sad, for he hated to dissapoint his friend, but finally he said, tearfully,"I'm sorry, but you see,I could never live anywhere where people don't pass under my window."
Are YOU living where people can pass under your window? Are you ministering to those who do? Tommy had every excuse for not ministering to others, but Love found a way ! How about you?