I collect dead people’s things.
Just a few months ago, a Bible was delivered to my mailbox that once belonged to a 19th century traveling Mennonite preacher.
A lady had advertised that she was going to toss the Bible in the trash if she didn’t sell it soon. What? I said. Toss God’s Holy Word in the trash? May it never be! The lady said she was moving and couldn’t be bothered with it any longer.
I quickly replied to the advertisement, electronically forked over the cash, and rescued that Bible from certain destruction.
There are no accidents with God. It was divinely appointed that I should discover the sale ad and act on it. The story behind how I found this advertisement is a miracle in itself.
When the package arrived, I excitedly opened it to find a well-worn, leather-covered Bible containing all sorts of handwritten notes (in sepia ink) and rare printed inserts nearly 100 years old. What a marvelous treasure indeed.
And after just a few minutes of research, I learned that the Mennonite preacher who owned the Bible was quite famous in his day and was devoutly devoted to the Lord.
His name was Isaac J. Rosenberger—a Pioneer and Patriarch of the Church of the Brethren. Those intimately familiar with him called him, IJ. He was born near Tiffin, Ohio on April 20, 1842 and went to be with the Lord on April 13, 1923, at the age of 80.
To my delight, as I carefully turned the Bible’s tattered and chipped pages, I discovered Isaac’s period photograph, a browned and brittle obituary, clipped long ago from a newspaper, summing up his life and his accomplishments, as well as a small photograph of what was once his humble home.
What a remarkable and imposing image of Rosenberger–his kind and gentle eyes say it all. He truly belonged to the Lord and his Bible is chock-full of evidence of a life committed to his God and others.
I thanked God for counting me worthy to be the steward of this historically important gem. What a blessing!
Who is like our God?
There is much to be learned from these old relics that are passed from hand to hand over many decades or even hundreds of years. One day soon, I will meet Isaac J. Rosenberg.
History, isn’t it wonderful?
Jesus is a historical figure, but He lives! He is also our Savior and the only begotten Son of the Living God. How much should we be seeking to know Him and not some idea of who God might be, but wading in deep and getting to know and to love the one and only true God? Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us–He gave it all. Don’t we owe Him our life?
His Word—the Bible, is a mind-boggling, sensational, and exciting historical record (from outside our time domain) which is the World’s best-selling book of all time and the most widely distributed.
It’s certainly no accident that it has survived the ages!