How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?—Romans 10:14
John Harper was an evangelist from Scotland, headed to Chicago in the spring of 1912 on the RMS Titanic. He was scheduled to preach at Moody Church as a guest speaker. At the beginning of his journey, Harper talked to other passengers and engaged them in conversation, and people noted that he was a very helpful, kind person.
And when the Titanic hit an iceberg and began to take on water, the first thing Harper, a widower, did was put his little daughter into a lifeboat. Then he gave his life jacket away to another man because there weren’t enough.
Harper rushed up and down the decks, asking people, “Are you saved?” and telling them to believe in Jesus Christ. And when the ship sank beneath the water, Harper took hold of some wreckage and made his way to other survivors in the ocean, still shouting, “Are you saved?”
One young man who told him that he wasn’t saved recalled Harper’s response. The preacher quoted from Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (KJV).
Then he disappered into the Atlantic’s icy waves. The young man later said that he believed he was John Harper’s last convert.
Who will be your last convert? When is the last time that you engaged someone in a conversation about Christ? Preaching doesn’t mean you have to yell. Sometimes you have to speak louder to be heard, but you can say it quietly. You can say it in a conversational way.
But in one way, shape, or form, God wants us to reach people through verbal articulation. As 1 Corinthians 1:21 says, “It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (NKJV). God chooses to work primarily through the preaching of the gospel.