Norma Matthes had been ill off and on for nearly 20 years, but she didn’t use her illness as an excuse not to share her faith in Jesus Christ. From almost the moment in 1972 when she was introduced to the pamphlet, Life’s Most Important Question, she used it to lead hundreds of people to the Lord, remembers her husband, Quentin Matthes.
Quentin recalls how one hospitalization stretched to 23 days. The hospital provided two shifts of nurses that sat with Norma around the clock. “It was hardly ever the same nurse,” he said. Yet each one heard the message of the saving love of Jesus. And several accepted Christ as a result of Norma’s witness.
“All she ever used was the information out of that GROW tract,” Quentin remembers. She often spoke the words from memory, but she almost always had a tract available to share with the individual.
Norma died May 2. 2008. At her funeral a few days later, numerous individuals stood to remember her witness for the Lord.
The Life’s Most Important Question tract that was her favorite witnessing tool grew out of the GROW ’73 (God Reaching Our World) evangelism campaign. The campaign was a focused effort by Grace Brethren pastors to teach evangelism principles to their congregations, and it resulted in a period that saw the largest number of new professions of faith in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.
It begins with a simple question, “If you were to die today, and were to meet God, and He should ask you why He should let you into His heaven, what would you say?” The tract contains five important facts that answer the question – heaven is a free gift that cannot be earned or deserved, man does not deserve the gift of heaven, there is a penalty for sin, Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and personal faith in Christ is the answer. It concludes with a suggested prayer that might express the desire of a person’s heart to accept Jesus.
The tract was inspired by a message by the late Dr. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, according to Dr. Wayne Beaver, who directed GROW ’73 and wrote the tract with his wife, Dorothy.
A similar tract had been instrumental in an evangelism program that Beaver had directed in the Central African Republic.
“The Spirit of God was ready and eager to move mightily in Africa, and so prepared His people to be used,” recalls Dr. Beaver. “The same was true in the States in ’73.”
The tract was printed by the Brethren Missionary Herald Company (BMH) as part of GROW ’73 materials in the fall of 1972, when five training seminars were held throughout the U.S. for Grace Brethren pastors.
Since that time, more than five million tracts have been printed and distributed around the world. Three versions are available – the original King James, the New International Version, and a Spanish language edition.
Life’s Most Important Question is available at www.bmhbooks.com or by calling John Leonard at (800) 348-2756