This gifted Greek-American Bible scholar, author, and ministry innovator was passionate about his service for the Lord. Among his over 200 published works was the bestselling Hebrew-Greek KeyWord Study Bible, which indexes key terms in the English Bible with the words they were translated from in the original Greek and Hebrew languages.
As a young minister, I relied heavily upon his various language tools to help me expound the Word of God faithfully. I will forever be indebted to him for all he provided. If you desire, you can read more about the life and ministry of this faithful servant at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiros_Zodhiates.
Another of his works that was useful to me as a Christian communicator down through the years was his monthly publication titled Pulpit Helps Magazine. (Later, some 4000 entries from this newsletter were compiled into a series of four books titled Bible Illustrations.)
In one issue, he told the following story about Dr. Leo Winters, a skilled surgeon of a previous generation in Chicago, Illinois. I wanted to share it here today.
Dr. Leo Winters was awakened one morning around one o'clock. There had been an accident and a young boy was in the hospital. Nurses there felt that he alone had the skill to save the boy's life.
Without any hesitation, Dr. Winters rushed out of bed, threw on his clothes, grabbed his keys, and ran to his car. As he made his way in downtown Chicago, he took a shortcut through a dangerous area known for its rough gangs. The risk was worth it to him, for he knew that only precious minutes stood between the injured boy and death.
But something happened. As he sat at a stoplight waiting for it to change, a man wearing an old flannel shirt and a gray hat suddenly rushed from the shadows. He opened the car door, grabbed the doctor and threw him out, screaming, "I've got to have your car."
Dr. Winters tried to plead his situation; but the man was gone before he could utter two words. This was before the days of cell phones; and it took at least forty-five minutes to find a pay phone and call a taxi. By the time he arrived at the hospital, more than an hour had passed.
The nurses on the floor shook their heads and said, "You're too late, Dr. Winters; the boy died thirty minutes ago. You'll find the father down the hall in the chapel. He's awfully confused - he can't understand why you didn't come."
Without taking time to explain to the staff, Dr. Winters hurried down the hallway and opened the chapel door. There, sitting in the front row, was the crumpled form of the weeping father, wearing an old flannel shirt and clutching a gray hat. In his desperation to get to the hospital, he had pushed from the car the one man who could have saved his son's life.
Do you want a picture of humanity? Here it is: rushing after life; racing after satisfaction and fulfillment; hungering for meaningful relationships and lasting commitments; hoping for peace and relief from guilt and sin - yet, at the same time, pushing away the only One capable of saving their lives.
But we must never give up on them. We must continue to rush through the cold, dark streets no matter what danger awaits us and try to reach them in time.
Will some people throw you out? Yes. Will some people refuse to listen to you? Yes. Will some people curse at you? Yes. But God's mercy is worth your greatest effort. We have been given the cure for the disease of sin, and we know the Divine Healer who offers that cure to all.
So make haste to reach everyone . . . while you can.
SOURCES: I first heard Dr. Richard Lee, Pastor Emeritus of First Redeemer Church in Atlanta, Georgia, tell this story picturing people’s response to the offer of salvation available through Jesus Christ nearly forty years ago. Years later, before the rise of the internet, I encountered the story again in Dr. Zodhiates’ publication. I also found it in Dr. Paul Lee Tan’s monumental work: Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations (Rockville, MD, USA: Assurance Publishers,, 1979), 1211.
It may very well be that the original source for Drs. Lee, Zodhiates, and Tan was an article first published in the then popular Moody Monthly Magazine. Cf.: http://www.wisdomonline.org/devotionals/devotion_detail.html?id=829.
ADDITIONAL PAGES OF INTEREST:
AMG Ministries, International: http://www.amginternational.org/main/fs/.
Pulpit Helps Magazine: http://www.pulpithelps.com/www/docs/6.
AMG Publishers: http://www.amgpublishers.com/main/.
Information about Dr. Richard Lee can be found at the There's Hope web page: http://www.thereshope.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=artic