“Life only happens once, why not make the most out of it? Whenever you get the chance spread the Gospel! You never know if you will ever see the person again, or when the Lord will call you home!”
These are the famous words of a young man by the name of Avery Jackson. This young man had a soul that was set on fire for God. Although he'd usually keep his faith private, and never really got into any discussions on faith, he desired to live his life in purity & for the glory of the Lord. Avery always longed to a pilot...much like his favorite missionary Jim Elliot, but all that changed in 1923, when Avery outwardly expressed his faith.
Summer 1923 was the turning point in eighteen year old Avery's life. For ten years he had kept his faith in God private, only because he thought his faith was nothing anyone else should know about. His father and mother were missionaries in Afghanistan his twenty year old brother was a missionary in Germany, and his twenty-one year old brother was a missionary in Zimbabwe, South Africa, but for Avery, he longed to be a pilot and not a missionary!
As he was walking down the street towards his friend Eric's house, he past an elderly man named Mr. Carlson. Avery nodded polietly as he walked past him, ignoring the urge to share the Gospel with him. Soon he was knocking on Eric's door, Avery waited for an answer, when there was no answer, Avery walked down the steps headed toward home. As he was hurridly walking down the street, he heard the Lord talking to him. “My son, why do you rush home? Are you worried Mr. Carlson might ask you a question regarding your faith in Me? Share My Word with him, you might like what you'll see.” Heeding God's call, Avery walked up to the elderly man and started talking to him.
“Good afternoon Mr. Carlson, lovely weather we're having today isn't it?”
“Yes, yes it is young man. I was hoping to have some rain today though.”
“Well the day isn't over yet. Mr. Carlson have you ever thought about where you will go when you die?”
“Hahahaha, son I may be old, but I'm not that old! But to answer your question, yes I have. I'll be going to heaven when I die.”
“How do you know that?”
“Well, only because I'm a mighty good person.”
“By whose standards Mr. Carlson? Have you ever heard of the Ten Commandments?”
“Why yes I have, my mama used to read them to me everynight.”
Avery began to go through the Ten Commandments with Mr. Carlson. He soon found out that Mr. Carlson was not what he seemed to be. He had just recently gotten out of prison for a crime he had committed twenty years ago. He had hardly kept any one of the Commandments, God had set in place. Just before Avery was about to leave, Mr. Carlson asked him one more question.
“Young man, you said God can and will forgive me, can you tell me what to do to be forgiven?”
“Yes sir I would love to help you! All you do is pray, asking God to forgive you, thanking Him for sending His Son to die on the cross for your sins, and finally thank Him for forgiving you.”
Mr. Carlson and Avery prayed together, hearing the elderly man pray, brought tears to Avery's eyes! He was super glad that he had a part in Mr. Carlson's redemption!
As Avery walked home that afternoon, he cried to God, “Lord God, thank you so much for calling me to witness to Mr. Carlson today! I'm so sorry that I ignored you the first time, please forgive me. Lord from now on, I will not keep my faith private! I will share Your Word with the whole world, I will not be ashamed for living for You. I love you Lord, amen.”
Three days later, as Avery was reading his Bible and writing the very first of his many sermons, Eric knocked on the door.
“Avery, you'll never believed what happened!”
“What's wrong, is everything okay Eric?”
“Mr. Carlson passed away last night!”
“No, Avery he told me to tell you that he was glad you stopped and led him to the Lord.”
“When did you talk to him?”
“Two days ago...I guess he knew his time was coming to an end!”
“Eric thank you so much for telling me about Mr. Carlson...I really appreciate it!”
During his sermon a month later, he used his encounter with Mr. Carlson as an example. He wanted to make sure that everyone knew how important heeding the call of God is. He made sure that people knew that keeping your faith secret isn't always a good thing to do. Part of his sermon he spoke these words, “Life only happens once, why not make the most out of it? Whenever you get the chance spread the Gospel! You never know if you will ever see the person again, or when the Lord will call you home!” Since his encounter with Mr. Carlson, he had a burning desire to spread the Good News. Avery Jackson soon became the best evangelist known...besides Billy Grahm of course.
Soon God sent him to China, where he spread the love of God to all the inhabitants of the land. Avery Jackson was publicly executed for his faith on June 25, 1925, when he was the age of 20! He lived his life striving to do what was pleasing to his Savior, and to have a pleasing integrity.