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The Legacy of an Unwasted Life - A Corn of WheatJoseph S. Carroll

carrol_0.jpgIt has been my desire for many years now to come to the end of my time here on this planet and know that the life I was given was not wasted. I think this message came to me first from a sermon by Joseph S. Carroll, the Executive Director of the Evangelical Institute of Greenville, South Carolina. Mr. Carroll frequently preached from the passage in John 12:20. "Unless the corn of wheat fall into the ground and dies, it abides alone. But if it dies it brings forth much fruit."

It's a message I find myself needing to hear over and over again. Interestingly enough, it was the final message of our Field Forum and I needed to hear it that day as much as I ever have. I've found myself too often recently worrying about my life here and now and what I like about it and what I don't. It hasn't taken long to realize that just because I have made sacrifices doesn't mean I am on a daily basis dying to my life in this world. And that is the only way to a fruitful, unwasted life.

I was reminded again that when the corn of wheat dies it produces much fruit. The potential of an acorn is not just a tree, it is a forest. At the same time (August 7) I was hearing again the message I heard first from Mr. Carroll, that dear servant passed into the presence of his Jesus.

I have sometimes wondered how many who truly believe will enter into the Presence of the Father and actually hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Certainly not all will. But if anyone I have ever known personally will hear those words, it will be Joseph Carroll. At the early age of 18 he determined to be a corn of wheat. From his service in the Australian army in World War II to his ministry to missionaries in Japan to his years in a small Bible school in South Carolina, pouring his life into young men and women, his life was not wasted.

The fruit of his life has resulted in trees on every continent (except of course Antarctica). There are at least four here in Mongolia. I don't know about the others, but if this tree stands firm, it will of course be by the grace of God, but it will also be because I learned from Mr. Carroll how to live. Here are just a few lessons that I learned from him that have carried me through 15 years of ministry:
  • Life reduced to fellowship with Christ makes the complicated simple

  • It's too soon to quit

  • All is in Christ by the Holy Spirit. All else is nothing.

  • 3 essentials: Living by faith, looking unto Jesus, unceasing dependence on the Spirit of God.

  • The Christian walks on two feet: surrender and faith

  • You can trust His heart when you cannot trace His hand (this is one that the Mongolian girls are learning to hang on to)

  • I owe him more than I could repay, more than I could ever express. But I know that nothing would repay him more than that I also live the unwasted life of a corn of wheat.

    "I want to die and let you give
    Your life to me that I might live
    And share the love you gave to me
    I want to share the love that set me free."
    (Keith Green)

    Reader Comments (3)

    I have met Joseph Carroll a great man of Faith, my brother, never ever met anyone so profound, so right on, and your Spirit would bear witness to his powerful messages. I love him, and have visited the school.
    I thank you for sharing so much. Thank you and may his legacy live on.

    December 20, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterravon nichols

    Hi Ravon - always good to hear from others whose lives were impacted by Mr. Carroll. My wife and I are both graduates of the Evangelical Institute - and our son Jonathan is attending there now. Needless to say, Mr. Carroll had a deep impact on our family. Thanks stopping by!

    December 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbernie

    Several years ago I had the golden opportunity to meet Mr. Carroll in his office at EI. Having been a long time listener and learner from his tape ministry (I believe every tape he had ever made), I wanted to talk personally with him in order to ask several plaguing questions. We had never met yet he was prepared to meet with me as he said “I have a word from the Lord for you”. Our conversational time was remarkable. At one point we moved to the question of true salvation and how is one saved. His response to me, as I can hear him now, was “Brother when did you repent”. I will always cherish the ministry and life of Mr. Carroll.

    October 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Bagwell

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