Bill Wilson encouraged City Harvest members to go into the midst of hopeless and stand in the gap for the lost.
By Foo Cechao
Bill Wilson, founder of Metro Ministries, a Christian, non-profit organization with the world’s largest Sunday School serving more than 42,000 children, revisited City Harvest Church on the evening of Feb.19. Using his rich life experiences, Wilson encouraged CHC members to be willing to stand in the gap and reach out to the down and out in society.
Wilson opened the session by recounting the story how he walked through a garbage dump in the Philippines one day and initially mistook a dead girl’s ponytails for a rat. Picking her up, he realized to his horror that her face was covered with ants which had eaten up her eyeballs. That afternoon was a defining moment for him not just as a leader, pastor and Christian, but as a man.
“A defining moment demands some answers from you which have the capability to define what kind of person you will become,” he said.
That was the impetus for Wilson to start Metro Ministries in Philippines which has over 20,000 children in its Sunday School at present.
“Do you really think that one person can make a difference in the world?” This was the question constantly on his mind, one that challenged him to go further in his work. After showing a video of children living among the remains of dead people inside a cemetery in Manila, the Philippines, the passionate pastor shared from the Bible in Numbers 16, in which Aaron took the censer with fire from the altar and ran to the midst of the assembly, and when he stood between the living and the dead, the plague stopped.
There are three lessons to be gleaned from this Bible story. Firstly, Aaron and the fire were the only things that stood between the living and the dead. Wilson shared from his childhood: being abandoned by his alcoholic mother on the streets for three days, and rescued by a Christian who sent him to a church camp and changed his life. “I was beat up by life, passed up by the world of the church, until one very ordinary Christian stopped and picked me up,” he said, emphasizing that a single man or woman can make a difference in other’s lives.
Secondly, Aaron was the most unlikely person to stop the plague. He had his own personal struggles, plus he was 100 years old at the time, but still, he ran and saved the people. “When you decide to make a difference, somebody will always tell you that you are too young, too old, too smart, too stupid. But once you get some fire in your bones, it doesn’t matter what others say,” said Wilson. The pastor declared he would not allow others to speak negatively into his life, but he believes what the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Thirdly, Aaron simply did what was required. “He just did what he needed to do, and the need was the call,” Wilson said. He said his benefactor had every reason to pass Wilson by, just as everybody else had. Instead, he took the little stranger in, fed and provided for him, and even borrowed money to send him to the church camp because he believed that if this boy would enter the presence of God for one time, his life would be changed.
The audience was deeply moved by Wilson’s touching experiences and by his firm exhortation. When the altar call was given, half the room ran to the front to receive the fire from the altar. With tears in their eyes, many re-dedicated their lives to the Lord, to be used to reach out to the lost and hopeless in society. This was indeed an unforgettable night, one in which many caught the urgency, renewed their call from God and stepped out to stand in the gap for the lost.