Thanks to the blog, I’ve been spending more than a little time thinking about myself lately. Even though it’s purpose is to keep you informed on what and how we’re doing and why, I felt inspired to praise some people who have inspired us as of late. Names have not been changed to protect the “guilty.” 🙂
Most marinas (including Ensenada’s, where we were at the time of this anecdote) have what’s called a “cruiser’s net” on the VHF radios every morning. Local, interested boats will check in then listen for emergencies, new arrivals, imminent departures, weather, trades, current events, favorite restaurants, and so forth. Now it was Saturday morning before the check-in and I faced a dilemma. I’d felt Led to offer a Sunday Bible study to the Net, but I was also dragging my feet. To make matters worse, Kristin had “out-ed” my idea just the night before to our very supportive friends, Mark & Jean.
Probably more out of shame than obedience, I picked up the transceiver and threw down the gauntlet:
“This is Salt & Light.”
“Go ahead Sultan Light.” (The steadfast deafness of the Net host was new every morning.)
“Yeah, we’re normally church-going folk, but we don’t know of any churches around here. If anyone would like to come over to our boat and do a Bible study with us, we’ll be waiting on dock C at 10am tomorrow. Over.”
Of course there’s more to that story, but what matters for now is that this is how we met Ernie. What you need to understand is that I could paint a very accurate picture of Ernie and you just might end up thinking, “How annoying!” Ernie is a chatty-Cathy who can’t take one step outside without saying “Jesus Christ” – but I mean in a good way. He infused every conversation with His passionate love and need for Jesus. (I think he even shared his testimony with us the first time we met, and the second!) He bathed every hobby he had, every favor he did, with the cause of Christ.
You can imagine then that Ernie knew everyone, and for darn sure everyone knew Ernie. But what amazed me was that everyone I met considered Ernie – albeit unusual – the best of guys. Not only did he wear his Faith on his sleeve, he rolled those sleeves up all the time to lend a hand or an ear or his time or a ride. Even our neighbor, a Berkeley-hardened atheist, freely admitted that if more Christians lived like Ernie he’d have some re-thinking to do.
To call Ernie my hero would be weird for both of us. We’ll call him my big brother in the Lord. He was smaller than me, and younger than me both physically and spiritually. But Ernie has recklessly abandoned his plans and pride to the Lord in a way that powerfully inspires me and convicts me (it depends on the day). Whether he’s taking Bibles on his ship to the needy in Mexico or turning wrenches on the Baja 500, or helping everyone with everything all the time I am fortunate to call this man not just my friend, but my Brother in Christ. Thanks for sharing Life with as many of us as you can. May we live it and give it as freely and genuinely as do you.