I met Darin in my study in about 1987. He wanted to marry one of the girls in our church. His girlfriend Wendy was a Christian. Darin was not. Marrying a believer to an unbeliever is a violation of Scripture. I told him so.
He claimed that he wanted to become a Christian. I doubted his sincerity but when I explained the gospel to him he prayed confessing his sin and asking for salvation. A short time later I baptized him. He joined the church, sang in the choir, and became a loyal and faithful friend. I performed the wedding. Like all of us he had his successes and failures but he proved himself to be a faithful, genuine believer.
Darin was clearly gifted as a servant. He was quick to notice simple things he could do to help others. He always extended warm hospitality to our family. His house in Utica was along the route used for the annual Labor Day weekend Ice Cream Festival parade and he always went out of his way to make a nice place for our family to enjoy the festivities. Since we moved away we always think of Darin the Saturday morning before Labor Day and miss the parade and Darin and Wendy’s kindness.
One day I took Darin with me to a pastor’s fellowship meeting in Hillsborogh, Ohio. Pastor Dan Lamb preached and told about how his brother challenged him to lead others to Christ. His brother’s practice was to write the names of people he had lead to Christ in the back of his New Testament. He bought him a New Testament and challenged him to lead five hundred people to Christ and write their names in his Testament.
Pastor Lamb invited men at the meeting who would believe God for five hundred converts during their lifetime to come forward and commit themselves to God for that purpose. He offered a beautiful leather New Testament to anyone who would come.
His message was passionate and his appeal was strong. My heart was moved with desire to influence others for Christ. I went forward and knelt at the altar to pray. When I returned to my seat Darin said; “Where is your New Testament?” I didn’t get one because I was concerned that I could not win that many people to Christ.
A few weeks later Darin walked up to me after church and said; “I grew up in Columbus, Ohio where there are hundreds of preachers and no one ever told me how to be saved until you did. You may not win five hundred people to Christ but you did win me. I thank God for that. I want you to have this as a gift from me.” He handed me a New Testament just like the ones that pastor was giving away at the meeting.
Only the Lord knows who is genuinely converted and He is the one who saves but it is an unspeakably wonderful opportunity that is given to us to be a part of the team, nudging people closer to Jesus. There is nothing in the world quite like joy of introducing another to Christ. I have a growing list of names in my Testament. It makes me happy that Darin’s name is among them.