His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with
holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire
four years of college. He is brilliant. Kinda esoteric and very, very bright. He
became a Christian while attending college.
Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church.
They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go
about it. One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans,
his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts
down the aisle looking for a seat.
The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are
looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and
closer and closer to the pulpit and when he realizes there are no seats, he just
squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a
college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!) By
now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick.
About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church,
a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in his
eighties, has silver-gray hair, a three-piece suit, and a pocket watch. A godly
man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and as he
starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves, You can't
blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of
his background to understand some college kid on the floor?
It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent
except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You
can't even hear anyone breathing. The people are thinking, The minister can't
even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And now they see
this elderly man drops his cane on the floor.
With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships
alongside him so he won't be alone. Everyone chokes up with emotion. There seems
to not be a dry eye in the entire congregation. When the minister finally gains
control he says, “What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you
have just seen, you will never forget.” Rebecca Manley Pippert, retold by Alice
Gray More Stories for the Heart compiled by Alice Gray (Portland: Multnomah
Press, 1997), pp. 32-33.
It was a cold winter's day that Sunday. The parking lot to
the church was filling up quickly. I noticed as I got out of my car that fellow
church members were whispering among themselves as they walked to the church.
As I got closer I saw a man leaned up against the wall outside the church. He
was almost laying down as if he was asleep.
He had on a long trench coat that was almost in shreds and a hat topped his
head, pulled down so you could not see his face. He wore shoes that looked 30
years old, too small for his feet with holes all over them, his toes stuck out.
I assumed this man was homeless, and asleep, so I walked on by through the doors
of the church. We all gathered for fellowship for a few minutes, and someone
brought up the man laying outside. People snickered and gossiped but no one
bothered to ask him to come in, including me. A few moments later church began.
We all waited for the Preacher to take his place and to give us the Word, when
the doors to the church opened. In came the homeless man walking down the aisle
with his head down.
People gasped and whispered and made faces. He made his way down the aisle and
up onto the pulpit he took off his hat and coat. My heart sank. There stood our
preacher.........he was the "homeless man."
No one said a word.
The preacher took his Bible and laid it on the stand.
"Folks, I don't think I have to tell you what I am preaching about today." Then
he started singing the words to this song.
"If I can help somebody as I pass along.
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song.
If I can show somebody that he's traveling wrong.
Then my living shall not be in vain.
Have we been guilty of this, to a lesser, or even greater degree? Something to
think about. You never know what a kind word, a phone call, or an impromptu
visit will do for someone else.
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I
perceive that God is no respecter of persons: Acts 10:34
For there is no respect of persons with God.
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
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