I saw him in =
the church building for the first time last Wednesday. He was in his =
late-70’s with silver hair and a neat brown suit. Many times in the past =
I had invited him to come. Several friends had talked to him about the =
Lord and had tried to share the Good News with him. =
He was a =
well-respected, honest man with so many characteristics a Christian =
should have, but he had never received Jesus Christ as his Savior. =
I had asked =
him a few years ago, "Have you ever been to a church service in =
your life?" We had just finished a pleasant day of visiting and =
talking. He hesitated, then with a bitter smile he told me of a =
childhood experience some sixty years ago.
He was one of =
eleven children in a poor, inner-city family. His parents had struggled =
to provide food, with little left for housing and clothing. When he was =
about ten, some neighbors invited him to worship with them. =
The Bible =
class had been very exciting. He had never heard such songs and stories =
before. He had never heard anyone read from the Bible before. =
After class =
was over, the teacher took him aside and said, "Son, please don’t =
come again dressed as you are now. Remember, we want to look our best =
when we come worship the Lord."
He stood in =
his ragged, unpatched overalls, looked at his bare, dirty feet and said, =
"No ma’am, I won’t ever!" And he never did. =
There must =
have been other factors to have hardened him so, but this experience =
formed a significant part of the bitterness in his heart. I’m sure the =
Bible teacher meant well.
But what if =
she’d understood the teachings found in the second chapter of =
James? What if she had put her arms around that dirty, ragged little boy =
and said, "Son, I’m so glad you are here, and I hope you will come =
every chance you get to hear more about Jesus!" =
I pray that I =
might ever be open to the tenderness of a child’s heart, and that I =
might never fail to see beyond the appearance and behavior of a child to =
the eternal possibilities within.
Yes, I saw him =
in the church house for the first time last Wednesday. =
As I looked at =
that immaculately dressed old gentleman lying in his casket, I thought =
of the little boy of long ago. I could almost hear him saying, "No =
ma’am, I won’t ever!". And I wept.
Dr Bob Griffin =
Knows Me, This I Love!"