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The Street Man and the Banker

“Good morning”, said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on the ground. The man slowly looked up.

Streetperson

This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new.. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life.

His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.. “Leave me alone,” he growled….

To his amazement, the woman continued standing.

She was smiling — her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. “Are you hungry?” she asked.

“No,” he answered sarcastically. “I’ve just come from dining with the president. Now go away.”

The woman’s smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.

“What are you doing, lady?” the man asked angrily. “I said to leave me alone.”

Just then a policeman came up. “Is there any problem, ma’am?” he asked..

“No problem here, officer,” the woman answered. “I’m just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?”

The officer scratched his head. “That’s old Jack. He’s been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?”

“See that cafeteria over there?” she asked. “I’m going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile.”

“Are you crazy, lady?” the homeless man resisted. “I don’t want to go in there!” Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. “Let me go, officer. I didn’t do anything.”

“This is a good deal for you, Jack” the officer answered. “Don’t blow it..”

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived…

The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. “What’s going on here, officer?” he asked. “What is all this, is this man in trouble?”

“This lady brought this man in here to be fed,” the policeman answered.

“Not in here!” the manager replied angrily. “Having a person like that here is bad for business..”

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. “See, lady. I told you so. Now if you’ll let me go. I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled……. “Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?”

“Of course I am,” the manager answered impatiently. “They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms.”

“And do you make a godly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?”

“What business is that of yours?”

I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company.”

“Oh.”

The woman smiled again. “I thought that might make a difference.” She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. “Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?”

“No thanks, ma’am,” the officer replied. “I’m on duty.”

“Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?”

“Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice.”

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, “I’ll get your coffee for you right away, officer.”

The officer watched him walk away. “You certainly put him in his place,” he said.

“That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this.”

She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently.. “Jack, do you remember me?”

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. “I think so — I mean you do look familiar.”

“I’m a little older perhaps,” she said. “Maybe I’ve even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry.”

“Ma’am?” the officer said questioningly. He couldn’t believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

“I was just out of college,” the woman began. “I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn’t find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat.”

Jack lit up with a smile. “Now I remember,” he said.. “I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy.”

“I know,” the woman continued. “Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble… Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right.”

“So you started your own business?” Old Jack said.

“I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered.” She opened her purse and pulled out a business card.. “When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons…He’s the personnel director of my company. I’ll go talk to him now and I’m certain he’ll find something for you to do around the office.” She smiled. “I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet… If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you.”

There were tears in the old man’s eyes. “How can I ever thank you?” he said.

“Don’t thank me,” the woman answered. “To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus…… He led me to you.”

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways….

“Thank you for all your help, officer,” she said.

“On the contrary, Ms. Eddy,” he answered. “Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And.. And thank you for the coffee.”

God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor.

If you believe, send it.

If you don’t believe, delete it.

God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close..

If you need God to open some doors for you…send this on.

Shrek the Sheep

Shrek-60This is Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shorn (shave) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.

This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece’—that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

The Old Fisherman

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic. One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.

“Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face — lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’til morning.” He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face…I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments…”

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.” I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us.

“No, thank you. I have plenty.”

And he held up a brown paper bag. When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes.

It didn’t take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact,every other sentence was prefaced with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.

He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.”

He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.” I told him he was welcome to come again.

On his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed.

Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious. When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.

“Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!” Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear. I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.

Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse. As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!” My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”

She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”

All this happened long ago — and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

Plight of the Silent

Plight of the Silent

 I am dependent. My every need God has delegated to a precious woman. She is called “mother”. She is the one that shall birth me into this remarkable place you call “world”. I am called to be a product of love. She shall be the one that shall call me by name. I know that God calls me the “Apple of His eye” and has set my purpose before the foundations of the earth. What shall she call me? She shall train me up in the way that I shall go. God must really have a deep, undaunted trust in women to give them such an awesome responsibility. For she is the one to see that I enter into this world safely.

She is so warm. Her womb encases me just as though it were her very arms wrapped around me tightly, assuring me that everything will be all right. Without being able to touch or see me she adheres to my every need. She provides protection, warmth, and nourishment to me. I love her. I have loved her from the very beginning. The beginning of my life, which was at conception. I will be able to share this love with her soon. It does bubble within me so. I will be the one that will bring joy within her that she has never known before. It will be the type of joy that will bring tears to the crevice of her eyes as she watches me sleep in the middle of the night.

It is close to the time that I will finally see her, just weeks away now. I know her voice. As I move within her, I hear her laughter. It is such a sweet sound unto my ears. She has such a beautiful, warm voice. I recognize her voice distinctly among the other sounds on the outside. We are connected not only physically but also in spirit. She shall always be a part of me and I a part of her.

She is crying. Mother, what is wrong? She has been crying for several days now. How I wish she knew that I was here for her. When no one else has listened, I was listening. I don’t quite understand why or how but I believe she is blaming me for her pain. But I have done nothing wrong. Have I? If only I could change everything, I wish I were not going to have this baby. What am I going to do? These are some of the many heart wrenching thoughts that flow from her heart onto her lips. I still don’t understand, but I am fearful because it is now my life that is being threatened. She is thinking of killing me. The very woman that has provided all these wonderful things unto me now is considering destroying the very essence of who I am. You can’t do this! Why, Mother? Everything will be all right!!! Please don’t harm me! Don’t you remember! The very thing that you are about to destroy has been marked by God.

She says that she cannot care for me. But mother, you have cared wonderfully for me. How were you able to do it this far? Where did your help come from? It was already within you. Remember. you were made to carry me within your womb. You were made internally to protect me. Please remember these things. Please I beg you, please remember! I want so much to spend my years of growing and learning with you, but allow my life to bring joy and fulfillment somewhere. You have options. Please, please — Your mother chose life for you. You are now in control. Please choose life for me.

How is it that I can hear her cries but she cannot hear the cries from within her own womb? It is not fair! Why won’t she listen to me? I shouldn’t have to feel this anger. This is to be an intimate time between child and mother, but for me, I am frightened. I feel and I am all alone. Will anyone hear my cry? The outside world has grown cold to the plight of a child. Today, I will die. Why? I ask.

The woman that I call “mother” has taken me this day to a dreadful place where they murder innocence. We together will go through such a horrifying experience that no man will be able to remove the scars. They have sedated her now. How will they do this monstrous act? I wonder. They are consoling her. Who is here to console me, I ask? There is no answer. At this time, I shall not continue to weep, for my soul shall be the Lord’s.

I feel tugging. Someone is attempting to turn me. Something cold has taken a hold of my foot and I am turned now. Now my other foot as well has been pinched and pulled by this cold object. At this time, my feet have been taken from the womb and are now on the outside of my mother’s body. I am able to kick them. How free I feel. I am happy now. Oh! She has changed her mind. I will be in her arms and she will love me. I shall live and not die. As my torso is released, I feel chilled. This place called “world” does not provide the same warmth that a maternal womb freely gives unto a child. But I can’t focus on the chill of the present, because shortly I will be embraced with the warmth of my mother. Now my arms are free! I am able to move without feeling constricted. My entire body is outside her precious womb of protection. Now my head shall come forth. I am now beginning to understand the process of what they are doing. They are delivering my head last because it encases my thoughts, feelings, and ideas. It houses the very essence of who I am. This must be why they are so careful to hold it inside the birth canal until the perfect time. I am excited now! It is time. I can almost see the joy of my mother’s face as they place me in her arms.

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What is happening? Everything is spinning. Something very sharp has just plunged into the back of my neck. I am going into shock. There is such chaos in my world. Why such pain? I can’t bear it!! Please make it stop!!! My heart is pounding. My legs are in full extension now. How could someone that loved so much allow this act of violence? Mother, do you share this horrific pain? Oh, how I hope that you do not. Please take this from me, for I cannot bear anymore. I am weakened and can hardly take my breath. Why would someone do this? I don’t understand!

Now an instrument has been inserted deep inside my brain. I am sorry, but I am again crying. I lay limp now. My very breath has been stolen from me. It is finished, I say, and from this what was gained, I ask? I shall not be able to speak with you again. But please speak for me. Please tell of my plight. There must not be another to follow in my footsteps. I leave it to you now. If you are a woman with life in your womb, listen to the silent cry that lies within you. You have options. Ask for help and someone will come to your side and walk with you. You are not alone. By choosing life, you shall reap life. Remember the cause. Please do not allow this to continue. If I had breath, I would fight a great fight, but now I must ask for you to stand in my place. Stand against the opposing forces and all resistance and the result will be life.