A Drunk Called Dredgy and the Value of a Soul!
Can You See God's Love
It Is Important to Share The Love of God
Meeting the Drunk Called 'Dredgy'
Pastor Bill had every reason to approach Dredgy’s drive with uneasiness. It was not so much that Dredgy, the community drunkard, was dangerous, but the environment left quite a bit to be desired. Pastor Bill had been directing the mountain church folk at his parish to reach out more to the hurting of the community. Some of the ladies thought it might be a good idea if their pastor would try to reach Dredgy. Whether this was their idea of humor, or retribution for hard preaching, or real sincerity, no one could tell. However, Pastor Bill was not going to be easily distracted. “God’s love is for all people!” the Reverend preached and did his best to practice. This Shepherd was not afraid of Dredgy, who had a reputation of being a harmless older sot, but he was somewhat troubled by the derelicts who nearly took abode, like unwanted flies, with Dredgy every month, about the time his pension check come in. They would stay until the little money was gone, and then vanish as the beer river flowed to some other opportunity.
God's Love - What A friend We Have in Jesus
How To Become A Friend
However, today opportunity was in the Pastor’s corner. There was no one in the driveway. Driveway is not the best description of where Bill parked his car. It was actually an aged parking lot, for Dredgy was living in an abandoned church building. He had taken minimum funds and fixed it up a might (a mighty little). The Bishop Bill turned off the ignition, the engine belched slightly and died to a rather eerie silence. The Pastor’s mind’s eye pictured the cars and/or wagons that had parked there over the years as they would come to worship God. These mountain folk were hardy worshippers, and he could still feel the echo of sacredness at the site. Instead of sanctum, now there was nothing but dereliction – a certain sadness to the Pastor’s soul, hard to express but heavy on the heart like the prodigal in the Bible who felt forced to eat the pig’s food to survive.
The Reverend Bill opened his auto’s door and stepped his foot to the ground. His burden for Dredgy grew as he felt and heard the crunch of beer cans under his feet. To survey the lot was to observe corner to corner beer cans. Dredgy and his fellows did not dispose of their leftovers; they merely flattened the cans and discarded them over the lot. Over the years of drinking (and Bill was not sure what else – this is all he could see), these discards literally made a cover over the major part of the lot. It was impossible to enter without crunching.
There was another dimension beyond the crunch of cans; it was the smell. If you delight in the aroma of rancid beer, then you were in heaven, otherwise your inclination was to puke. The Pastor paused a moment to acclimate and strengthen himself and continued his crunching trek to the door. He knocked and knocked again. The drunk came to the door. “Hello, I am Pastor Bill, the new pastor at Community Church. I was hoping I could visit for a short while.” Dredgy looked the Revered up and down as if he were surveying a fossil of the lost, nearly extinct practice of the friendly pastoral visit. You could easily tell he was not used to such company. “Come on in, Pastor.”
The Pastor entered and followed Dredgy into his “church” home. You could still discern where the pews of the older church had been. His home was basically one big room. Where the former church choir loft was, there were stove, refrigerator and a table. Where the pews to the right were, Dredgy placed a bed and a chest-of-drawers. There was not a lot of furniture anywhere, but there was a lot of space, and plenty of chairs for his “friends.”
Dredgy and the Pastor walked down the aisle till where the former altar used to rest. There was a couch, chairs, two end tables. “Have a seat.” Dredgy slurred his words in the dark cavity of this former place of worship. The few windows were mostly covered, the paneling was dark, and there was one light in the lamp. Bill could smell the cocktail odors of beer, first and second hand smoke, a closed in building which needed cleaning, and a man who badly needed a bath. However, something special was alive in this place. Pastor Bill could feel a rushing within his soul.
We Must All Spread God's Love!
Favorite Scriptures on God's Love
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. —John 15:12-15\
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Romans 8:38-39
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. —1 John 3:1
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. —1 John 4:9-18
There Are Times When Heaven Comes Down!
Then something began to happen. It was like an angel was coming down from heaven and the stirring of water was happening. He looked at Dredgy, and everything about the environment began to change. The Pastor stopped smelling the obvious stench and could sense a miracle of God’s love in the making. Bill thought, “This is still a sanctuary, and Dredgy is but another sinner in need of Jesus Christ.” The Pastor wanted so much to “preach” to Dredgy, but as he was ready to open his mouth, the Holy Spirit in still small voice stayed him, “What Dredgy needs is a friend, not a preacher. This is the best way to reach him for eternity!”
Pastor Bill continued to look toward Dredgy, and he noticed how tight the old man was becoming. He was preparing for the “’Thou shalt not drink’ sermon” or the “’Look where sin has brought you’ sermon” or the “’Holiness or hell’ sermon.” After all , even though no one ever come around, the few Christians he would meet felt obliged to preach some sort of talking down to him. Bill opened his mouth and began to talk about everything but God. At first it was strained, but the conversation soon opened and Dredgy relaxed. After ten minutes or so, Bishop Bill stood and said he needed to go. Dredgy was flabbergasted that Bill had not pushed any church talk on him. “Pastor, come by any time. Enjoyed your visit! I really mean that.” He walked the pastor to the double church door entrance to his home. The visit was over.
Although the visit had ended, the Pastor’s prayer was just beginning. Bill knew the ice was cracking, and Dredgy’s heart was beginning to melt by the warmth of God’s love. In a few days he returned to the man’s church home. The time was awesome. The beer, and smoke were still there, but the fragrance of God’s love shown into that sanctuary better than any air freshener. A third visit, this time the Pastor took his wife and introduced her to Dredgy. The old man was noticeably changing before their eyes. A friendship was created.
However, friendships do not save souls. With every visit the Pastor added a little more to Dredgy’s life. He began to pray with Dredgy and do “church talk,” as if Dredgy was a part of Community Church. Indeed, in Bill’s eyes, Dredgy was just as much a part as any of his attendees. He was just another man needing help.
However, life moves on and unexpected things change stories and their real life endings. The time had come for Pastor Bill to leave Community Church. A new home, a new place, a new job, a new opportunity - such is the way that it is in the all too real world.
Time passes in the Bishop’s next adventure, and some of the thread of the memory of Dredgy and his church home had worn thin. Then, Pastor Bill received a phone call from one the members of Dredgy’s family. Dredgy had fallen ill and was in the hospital. The member who called said, “He is asking for you! Can you come, Pastor?” Pastor Bill readied himself, climbed into his car and drove to the valley where the hospital was. The trip was not a super long one but the journey was filled with reliving his acquaintances with Dredgy. Bill rehearsed what he would say, and how he would try to lead Dredgy to Jesus Christ. It might be now or never.
“Might be” is all to a human understanding; we worry about everything; however, we preach the care and sovereignty of Jesus. The Pastor briskly walked down the corridor, briefly paused at the door of the room, took a deep breath and walked in. Dredgy lit up like as if he had seen an angel. “Pastor Bill, you are here. Come in – Come in!” The years of alcohol and smoking had taken their toll, and it was obvious that Dredgy was in a serious way, but to hear him speak one might assume that he only had a cold. “When I got here, you were the man I wanted to see; You are the only one I asked for!” Dredgy was having trouble breathing, so he slowed a bit and continued. I wanted to tell you. I have received Christ in my heart. Shortly after you left the area, another witness from your former church came by, and by all that is real, I got saved! I’ve been born again!” The Pastor and Dredgy began a tenure of rejoicing.
Many years have passed since this incident. Pastor Bill has not heard from Dredgy since then, and years testify that Dredgy is now with the Lord in a new church home!
Note: The above short story is fictionalized but it is based on some real occurrence that happened years ago.