I got to know Edna Pohlman while I was growing up in the Sharon Road Adventist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. When I was a young teenager she seemed so old to me. Her husband had passed away, and as a retired missionary she loved her church and was very involved in it.
Mrs. Pohlman greeted every young person at church and knew us all by name. She also played the organ (very slowly, I might add) and was always our top Ingathering solicitor. I didn’t know much more about her then, except that she drove an old VW Bug. It didn’t run too well and I remember the deacons, on more than one occasion, pushing it around the parking lot to get it started.
Many years later as I was talking to a pastor who had served at that church, I asked if he remembered Mrs. Pohlman. He said, “Of course; she was the best parishioner I ever had!”
I told about the stories I knew of her, and he began to tell me “the rest of the story.” He said she constantly visited her neighbors and helped them however she could. As a result, he said she never had less than 10 individuals she brought to the church each year to be baptized. In addition, she also sponsored up to five children a year to attend our church school.
Suddenly I understood why she drove a beat-up Bug—having those kids in school was a much higher priority to her than a new car. I could tell you more stories about this incredible lady, but just know this: She was making a huge difference in people’s lives in her corner of the world.
Heaven in our hearts
OUTLOOK’s focus in March is outreach and friendship evangelism. While this is not a new topic for us as a church to focus on, it is, perhaps, one of the more important ones to constantly keep before us. In this crazy world in which we live, it is our human nature to revert back to a myopic view of life and see only our own needs. Now, there is nothing wrong with taking good care of ourselves. It is, in fact, job number one. If we are not taking care of ourselves, we have no hope of helping others.
Here is where Christ’s own example can bless us. My wife, Diane, recently shared two sentences that have really stuck with me. Ellen White wrote, “When we love the world as [Jesus] has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven: for we have heaven in our hearts” (The Desire of Ages, p. 641).
This incredible quote exhorts us to “love the world as He has loved it.” Just how did Jesus love the world? As Phil. 2 points out, He “humbled himself” to the “point of death” even “death on a cross.” Christ was in heaven, saw our helpless state, and made the journey to Earth “becoming in the form of man,” knowing full well His journey would lead to Calvary. I heard one preacher say, “He entered the very battle for our salvation.”
This is what friendship evangelism is all about—entering the battle for the salvation of others. Just know, however, this is a costly proposition. To really do this, it could change your schedule, your plans, your financial priorities…even the car you drive. Just look at what it cost Jesus. But in doing so, we will be loving “the world as [Jesus] loved it.” We will have “heaven in our hearts.”