Lord, what do you want me to do?

Lord, what do you want me to do?

Readers of the KJV will be familiar with these famous words spoken by Saul of Tarsus prior to his amazing conversion to Christ. In my teen age years, having at the age of twelve felt called by God to be a missionary. I often repeated those words in my prayers. I was very conscious of the fact that I had not many academic abilities but on many occasions was challenged by refrain of the hymn written by Elsie D. Yale “ There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do”. I wanted to serve the Lord but wondered what I could do and these words were a great encouragement. 

There’s a work for Jesus, ready at your hand,
’Tis a task the Master just for you has planned.
Haste to do His bidding, yield Him service true;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

Work for Jesus, day by day,
Serve Him ever, falter never; Christ obey.
Yield Him service loyal, true,
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

There’s a work for Jesus, humble though it be,
’Tis the very service He would ask of thee.
Go where fields are whitened, and the lab’rers few;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

There’s a work for Jesus, precious souls to bring,
Tell them of His mercies, tell them of your King.
Faint not, nor grow weary, He will strength renew;
There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

I did not know then that the Lord would lead me to serve him in the south of Ireland, the country of my birth but the part which was predominately Roman Catholic known as the Republic of Ireland which had very few evangelical workers.  I arriving in Cork in 1956 and Wendy joined me, after our wedding, in 1957.  The Lord had given me a vision of a need, during that first year in serving the Lord, which grew eventually into the ministry that the Lord had planned for us.  That ministry was to become known as the ‘Postal Bible School’ and later, the associated ministry ‘Bible Educational Services’.   It soon became obvious that I could not fulfil that vision on my own but needed a team of helpers with greater abilities than mine.  The wonderful helpmeet that the Lord gave me became the first and most special member of that team. We have lost count of the great company of others who, over the years that followed, have served the Lord with us, and we are thankful that so many responders to the call of God.  After many years we passed on the baton of leadership to others who now also depend on the help of many colleagues and partners to expand the ministry throughout the world. We praise the Lord for every one who have prayed “Lord what do you want me to do” and responded to the Lord’s leading into His service. 

There’s a work for Jesus none but you can do.

Wendy like Saul of Tarsus also wanted to know what the Lord wanted her to do. After we got married in Leeds and arrived in Ireland Wendy said to me “I do not just want to be a housewife but a missionary too – what can I do”. I had spent my first year in Ireland alone and was engaged mainly in open air and children’s evangelism.  One believer I met shared with me his concern for children in many rural areas, who had no Sunday school to attend, and he asked if I would start a children’s magazine containing Bible stories and competitions that he and others could distribute. I said that I would pray about that and when Wendy asked what she would do I told her about that brother’s suggestion. We both continued to pray and decided that we would not just produce a magazine but use the magazine, which we called ‘Young Gleaners’, to advertise Emmaus Bible Courses for children and start which we first called a ‘Postal Sunday School’. 

The first child that applied to start the course was Pearl, the young sister in law of the believer who gave me the idea. Wendy wrote to Pearl and sent her the first Emmaus Bible lesson.  Other children from all over Ireland joined Pearl. Wendy sent out one Emmaus lesson at a time but there were not very many Emmaus lessons for children available and we soon needed to find other lessons.  We contacted the ‘Postal Sunday School Movement’ in New Zealand who gave us permission to use and edit their lessons, to suit our situation, and we prepared four lessons per month to send to what eventually became hundreds of homes. Those lessons simply presented without any graphics and were a great help until we saw the need to develop our own BES courses with the help of others. Stephen Gillham, a qualified school teacher who had become an evangelist and school worker in Dorset was using our lessons and offered to help. We formed an editorial committee which Stephen led and I planned a new syllabus and designed a new format with graphics, and eventually colour.

Many years ago I was invited to share a conference in Tucson in Arizona with a well know Canadian Bible teacher Jab Nicholson.  In private conversation Jab asked me what my main gift or passion in ministry was.  I cannot remember how I answered Jab but looking back on my years I would acknowledge that my main gift was the gift of encouragement of others to serve the Lord.  That is what I want to do in my blogs in silver-servers.org website.  I plan to use my closing days in simply saying to others, “Theres’s a work Jesus none but you can do.”

For a number of years I used my personal website besireland.com, now discontinued, to the official websites of PBS and BES and in addition recommending other ministries to reaching the next generation. I plan if the Lord enables me.

Here is my new year suggestion for you.  Download the BES introductory lesson, and forward to your grandchildren, or children that you know, and give them an a reward if they return it completed to you. Then encourage them to join a Postal Bible School or even start your own home based Postal Bible School or Bible Club. You can obtain printed copies from me or Bible Educational Services. I look forward to hearing from you if you feel that this is something that the Lord would have you to do.  

May the Lord be with you and bless you as you serve Him in the year ahead. 

Bert Gray