Thursday, 11 September 2008

MR ETERNITY, ARTHUR STACE

Some years ago a self-confessed alcoholic homeless man in Sydney was gripped by the dire condition of his soul after wandering into an Anglican church where he heard the Gospel for the first time. The question that provoked Arthur Stace was Where will I spend eternity? He couldn't think of anything else. He intuitively knew that there must be more to life than this.

Convinced that the human soul lives on after departing this dimension of space and time, he set out on a course to find peace for his soul. He walked out of the church and went across to Victoria Park and sat under a tree. He soon discovered what Jesus promised, and what he sought, he found. He came to know Jesus not just as The Saviour, but as his Saviour.
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Luke 11:9

This newfound peace through his conversion to Christ transformed the way this man saw other people. Having found that Christ had found him, he wondered why so many had not found that they were lost. For him, it wasn't religion that people needed. They needed a Saviour and the only Saviour was Jesus of Nazareth.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
John 3:36

Frustrated that he wasn't eloquent enough to convey all of the implications of the Gospel, he thought he would provoke people in the same way he was provoked to consider the condition of his soul. Stace told his pastor, Rev. Lisle M. Thompson of the Burton Street Baptist Church, that after his conversion to Christianity, he heard a sermon in which the evangelist John G Ridley said "Eternity! Eternity! Oh, that this word could be emblazoned across the streets of Sydney!" So he set about on a life quest to get people to consider where they would spend eternity. He did this with a piece of chalk.

His hand-written E t e r n i t y was seen all over Sydney and only eternity will reveal just how many were provoked into a Christ surrendered eternity. In the meantime, the City of Sydney honoured this mysterious mystic by taking his message and emblazing it across Australia's largest coat-hanger for the opening of the 2000 Olympic Games. However many people were moved by this man's chalk may well have paled into insignifance once it was illuminated across the Habour Bridge.
Today, this man's humble effort to provoke people has been made into a major motion picture and bumper stickers. Thus, proving again, what we sometimes start in our lifetimes as a small, simple, humble effort can grow into something that becomes global in its impact perhaps years after we've gone.
Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore,
Hebrews 11:12

Amen.

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