Just Say Yes

Bob Eckhardt was a strong, robust man in his 40's with a gray beard. He had given his life to Christ a number of years before and had a passion for sharing Jesus with people. Eckhardt especially loved and felt called to open-air, street evangelism. He would travel to Washington, DC and many other places along the east coast, handing out gospel tracts and sharing Christ.

But in the spring of 1971, Bob and his wife, Amy, decided to settle down in Durham, NC, where Bob had found work Monday through Friday as a laborer. However, on Saturdays, Bob would drive the 5 miles to Chapel Hill, park his van on Franklin Street and hand out tracts to anyone who would take them. The van was covered with Bible verses all around and had big megaphone speakers mounted on the top. Sometimes he would even play Christian music through the loudspeakers.

Chapel Hill had never seen anything quite like Bob Eckhardt. The students considered him to be a joke, an idot, a complete buffoon. Some would curse at him or spit on him. They would ball up the tracts he had given them and throw them back in his face.  He became the laughingstock of Chapel Hill. But Bob was fearless and bold. No amount of ridicule or abuse could dissuade him from doing what he believed God had called him to do. He was faithful. Saturday after Saturday in the spring of 1971, he would stand there on Franklin Street, handing out the gospel to whoever would listen.

I had seen Bob a few times but had always tried to avoid him. When I couldn’t, I would politely take one of his tracts (because I felt sorry for the man) but I would never read them. I started referring to Bob to my friends as the “weirdest man in the world.”  But one Saturday as I was out walking my dog Noah, he got into a fight with another dog right there in front of Bob’s van. So I found myself eye to eye with Eckhardt, trying to stop this dog fight. All I wanted to do was to get away. So, after exchanging a quick hello, I walked off with Noah.

But that short encounter had a profound impact on me. At that moment, looking into Bob’s eyes, I knew that this man had what I was looking for. Call it peace, wholeness or the fullness of Christ – I did not know or have a name for it, but I knew it when I saw it. Something about Bob Eckhart was different.  It was a dramatic moment.

Standing there, for the first time, was a person who had what I had been searching for. None of the other religions, the drugs, the alcohol, the women – had impacted me like this. It lifted my hopes that my quest for peace and the meaning of life was not an impossible one. It made me confident that the answers were out there and attainable. If Eckhart had it, then I could have it too.

Of course, if you know my testimony, I went on to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Bob’s full obedience and saying yes to God's call on his life, made an eternal impact on my life and thousands of others. God used the unlikely to accomplish His will.

Friends, our time here on earth is short. What is God calling you to do today? Where is He asking you to trust and obey? You have no idea what eternal impact your zealousness and full obedience to the Lord will have when you just say yes to God.

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2-5