Monday, April 23, 2012

Chuck Colson Reports to Jesus

Chuck Colson, former right-hand man of Richard Nixon, and implicated in the Watergate scandal that not only caused Nixon to resign his presidency but sent Colson to federal prison, has passed away. He was 80 years old.

Chuck was a Marine officer, a Washington D.C. lawyer, and then went on to serve at the White House. But there, at the top of his game, heady with power and prestige and self-confidence, he crashed and his life was ruined.

He turned to Christ for help, and became, as his autobiography was titled, Born Again.

What most people think, and you may even hear some new outlets report, is that he became a Christian in prison. He had a jail-house conversion. And even us who have served in those areas, understand that many of those men are 'born again' until they are 'out again.'

But Chuck was not converted by going to prison. He went to prison because he was converted.

That's right. It's in his autobiography. He pled and was found, Not Guilty of all the charges against him. He was a free man. But Chuck Colson was walking a new path of honesty. He knew he WAS guilty of obstruction of justice, though he had not been charged with it.

He went and confessed. He served seven months in the Holabird facility for admitting to this crime, and there is where he saw the lostness and loneliness of men who had been cast off from society for their crimes. He began a Bible study and men warmed up to him. But as his day of departure came, an inmate said, "Man - you ain't gonna care about us once you are outside."

Chuck said he would; he would never forget. I picture the inmate shaking his head in disbelief. He was unconvinced. Chuck said he would come back and minister to them. They did not believe him, knowing all too well that the promises inside prison walls are as solid and strong as wet tissue paper.

Never tell a born-again Marine he won't do something. Never challenge a disgraced lawyer to a duel.

That day, Prison Fellowship ministries was born in Chuck Colson's heart. A world-wide ministry that made sure the Gospel was available and preached and taught in hundreds of facilities and for thousands of inmates - possibly millions in the 30-plus years of existence.

Now his ministry is over. What began as shame before the world ended as fame before God and those who love Him. Chuck Colson stopped reporting to the President decades ago.

He began reporting to the Lord of Creation then.

And this week, he walked into the highest seat of power in the universe, reporting for further orders I suspect, from Jesus.

There is only one thing the Commander of the Heavenly Hosts can say to such a man.

"Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Amen.

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