I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A FOOL
by John Goetsch
It has been said that "everybody is somebody's fool." I am not any
different than anyone else. I have always been a fool for something.
On July 31, 1967, I was sitting in the auditorium at Camp Chetek in
Northern Wisconsin, listening to Dr. Eric Folsum preach a message from
the Bible on Hell. He read scripture throughout the message that told
about Hell being a place of everlasting torment prepared for those who
never personally ask Jesus Christ to save them. At the close of the
service he asked those who wanted to be saved to come forward and have
someone show them from the Bible how to be saved and go to Heaven.
I felt very uneasy, and those scriptures on Hell were really
convicting my heart. But, I couldn't walk down that aisle, why
everyone knew that John Goetsch was a Christian. I had grown up in a
Christian home, had gone to church and Sunday School all my life. I
went to Vacation Bible School and Youth Camp every summer. I had been
baptized and was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown,
Wisconsin. In fact, I was president of athe youth group in my church.
But as I walked out of that auditorium that night, I could not get
away from those scriptures on Hell.
That night and the next day I was miserable. I kept asking myself,
"Am I going to Heaven or Hell?" Everyone else seemed to think I was
going to Heaven, but I wasn't sure.
The following night, I couldn't listen to the preacher. I didn't
hear a word he said. I kept asking myself over and over; am I really
going to Hell? Again at the close of the service the invitation was
given, but I couldn't seem to move. Something inside kept saying,
"You're good enough, You're better than most of these other people,
they are the ones that need to be saved," and I listened. Later that
night we watched a gospel film. In the darkness of that room that
night God began to speak in plain, simple terms to me. He said,
"John, if you don't get saved, you are going to go straight to Hell,
no matter what anyone else thinks, you are not saved!"
Right then I realized I had been a fool for the devil. He had
tricked me into thinking that I had been good enough. As the film
ended, I turned to a pastor who was sitting behind me and asked him if
he would help me. Pastor Don Phaffe took me to a small room and there
on my knees on August 1, 1967, at 10:30 p.m. I personally asked Jesus
Christ to save me. I claimed Romans 10:13 which says: "Whosoever
shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," and Revelation
3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my
voice, and open the door, I will come in..." The Lord didn't trick me
that night like the devil had. At that moment Jesus Christ forgave my
sin and gave me everlasting life. No longer was I a fool for the
I went back to high school that fall with real joy and peace in my
heart knowing I was on my way to Heaven. During those high school
years I became very active in athletics playing football, basketball,
and track, and was achieving some success in all sports. By the time
I reached my junior and senior years, I was completely wrapped up in
sports, with little time for anything else.
One day in Sunday School my Youth Pastor asked us to write down
some goals for our lives. My goal for High School was to make
all-conference in football. For my College goal , I wrote down that I
wanted to play College football, and for life my goal was to get into
some facet of professional sports.
Things went well and my senior year I captained the football team
to a 5 win and 3 loss record, quite respectable aince our high school
had not won a single football game in three years prior to that.
Offers began to come from various colleges asking me to play football.
OUr basketball team was ranked 7th in the state of Wisconsin, and I
was looking forward to breaking the school record in the shot put in
track that spring. Sports was my god and I just didn't have time to
serve Christ too.
On January 20, 1970, in the middle of my senior year, I was sitting
in one of my classes and my chest began to hurt. I had never felt any
pain like it before, but I put off thinking about it because we had an
important game that night. The pain grew steadily worse that
afternoon and evening and that night I played the worst basketball
game I had ever played in my life. I disgraced myself and the team.
Physically hurting and emotionally upset, I went home to bed.
However, as soon as I laid down flat on my back, the pain became
sharp. It seemed as if someone was taking a knife and cutting inside
At 3:00 a.m. the next morning my parents took me to the hospital.
They put me in a bed and I stayed in that bed, unable to move, for the
next 3 months. I had a virus of the heart sac. My heart sac was
filled with poisonous liquid and was the size of a basketball. I
missed the rest of my senior year, the rest of basketball, and all of
the track season.
All of the time I was in that hospital I never read my Bible or
prayed once. I was bitter against God because He had taken everything
I had dreamed of away.
For the next two years I ran from God and rebelled at even the
thought of surrendering my life to Him. I gradually worked my body
back into condition until it was strong and completely healthy.
Three weeks prior to my first college football game, I felt the
same pain in my chest I had felt two years before. The doctors, after
two weeks of tests told me that I had an enlarged heart, almost two
times the size it was supposed to be. They informed me that I would
never play sports again.
I was crushed. All I had ever worked for was gone. I went back
and told the coaches that I would never play again. As I walked
across the practice field that morning I looked at the footballs lying
there and walked away knowing I would never pick one up again. At
that moment my heart broke and I gave my life to Christ. I told the
Lord I had run from Him long enough and if He wanted my life, He could
have it all.
I drove home and parked the car in the garage. My mother came
running out and said, "John! John! you can play football!" I said,
"No, the doctors told me this morning that I would never play again."
She replied, "I know,but they just called. The tests were read wrong.
You are perfectly healthy and can start playing tomorrow!" I bowed my
head and thought, "If only I had been willing to give God my life two
years ago when He wanted it..."
Though God allowed me to play 3 years of college football and 4
years of college basketball, I never again let myself be a fool for
sports and put anything before Christ.
I went to Maranatha Baptist Bible College and it was while I was
there that God called me to be a preacher and into Evangelism to help
others, like you, find Christ as your Saviour and serve Him.
I Corinthians 3:18 says, "Let no man deceive himself, if any man
among you seemeth to abe wise in this world, let him become a fool
(for Christ), that he may be wise."
Today, friend, don't be a fool for the devil any longer. Right now
in simple faith ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and life,
repent of your sin, and ask Him to give you eternal life.
If you have been saved, don't be a fool to the temporal things of
this life. Dedicate your life to your Saviour and be a fool for Him.
This article originated on The Salvation Online Network
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