Stopped on a Stroll
Strolling down Main Street one cool autumn day, one fine young man and earnest (Ernie we shall call him here in this story of fiction illustrating a biblical truth). His hands tucked in his pockets, head hanging low, he was out of a job, just spending his time, hanging around town, not earning a dime.
Coming upon a corner, he spied an ancient military man sitting there in a chair. By his gray hair and wrinkled features so Ernie could tell, an airman Ernie had also perceived by his uniform catching Ernie’s stare.
Reaching out, that ancient airman grasped Ernie’s arm, pulling Ernie aside, “Do you have time, Sir,” the ancient airman said, his voice cracking, and “do you care to give some attention to hear my story?”
Having no other option, Ernie being held there in that ancient airman’s grasp, holding him fast. Ernie stopped and listened to this ancient airman’s tale of his past. Their eyes held fast in a stare, the ancient airman began his story, pleased that apparently, Ernie was in no hurry.
“You see, Sir,” the ancient airman began, “I’ve heard it said by some of the years long ago that ‘a man of too many friends comes to ruin but there is a friend’ they went on to say, ‘who sticks closer than a brother’. A true friend indeed, would you not agree, to one truly in need, and, Sir, you know, I’ve been one truly in need.”
Curiously puzzled, Ernie stared the more intently. Truly in need, Ernie thought to himself, hmm, I’m one myself “truly in need”.
Challenged to Give an Ear
Seeing young Ernie’s ear the ancient airman now fully had gained, the ancient airman continued on with the story of his life long ago.
“During my tour of duty, Sir, in ‘Uncle Sam’s’ Air Corps,” the ancient airman said, “I met another who helped me in my understanding the right way through those early days of my new walk of faith.
“Strolling about the base one day, I met him, he stopping me in my path along the way. Shaking my hand, we talked for a just a bit. He introduced himself to me and invited me to a Bible study the next coming Saturday morning; shortly he left.
“That was it, Sir. The brief conversation, and particularly the invitation clearly catching my ear, clearly making me attentive that he cared.
“And you know, Sir, that was the beginning of a friendship destined to last, continuing for all of two years. After that, we parted; the friendship, however, continued (for awhile) through the mail. Through those two years we were together, however, he ‘mentored’ me, getting me into God’s Word—Bible reading, study, Scripture memory, and prayer.”
A brief pause, then that ancient airman continued, though with a sigh, “He helped me, Sir, in my witnessing as well—sharing my faith I mean—at least he tried, I could tell. And yet …” The ancient airman’s head bowed in despair, he then went on, “Yet, my first attempt at it, Sir, was a bit awkward, and, at that time, I guess I a bit reluctant too. Conversation for me had never come easy—ill at ease and clumsy at such I’ve been.”
Pausing again briefly, then, the ancient airman’s countenance brightening, he continued, “Sir, that friend’s help, counsel, and rebuke, as well as in later years the example of Moses at the burning bush, as I read in the Bible, influenced me much since then in the sharing of my faith, and an encouragement toward faithfulness as well in so doing; in that, Sir, God is my example and enabler. And, in giving all His followers, including you, Sir,” he pointing to Ernie, his hand now loosed from Ernie’s arm, “the call to share God’s Good News of grace and peace and mercy and love, likewise faithful we’re all to be.”
Called to a New Direction
The ancient airman having finished his story, Ernie then continued his way on down that Main Street, his hands tucked back in his pockets, his head again hung down. Stopping momentarily and turning back he spied that ancient airman grasping another by the arm, stopping him in his tracks as he had Ernie. Then strolling on, stepping at a slower pace, Ernie considered it all he had heard that afternoon from that ancient airman there on that Main Street corner sharing the tale of his past.
That evening young Ernie recalled the events of the day; how blessed he'd been meeting that ancient airman, causing a moment’s pause along his way, challenging him toward a more exemplary employment.
Through the years since, Ernie often recalling that meeting, realizing that he too have been ever conscious that it is God’s “call” for him—for every Christ follower as well— to share Jesus, the true Friend, “who sticks closer than a brother.”
And He, the Holy Spirit, Ernie’s Helper (and “mouthpiece”) in his witness, he likewise faithful in being a “true friend” to another and allow the words to flow, to the Spirit’s promptings attentive be.
Then, Ernie brightening up, “Ah, unemployed I may be in this temporal time, but in the eternal time, I am employed in service for the King of kings – Employer of employers – my example is He. Likewise, to be as Him, in His cause, exemplary employed (Philippians 2:1-18), sharing Him – the way, the truth, and the life – to whom the Spirit leads. It is so recorded in the Bible, his employee handbook and instruction manual for his trekking onward in his earthly endeavors, until the upward call to his eternal home to be forever in service for his King.