Become a Fan
Wake- up Call
By Ellen K Hatcher
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Rated "G" by the Author.
The chaplain of the city mission meets a transient and learns a tough lesson.
Brother Tomlin, the chaplain, left the ivy covered, brick building, of the city mission. He stood for a moment, putting his pocket Bible into the pouch inside his suit jacket.
Looking around at the multi-colored leaves still clinging to the trees this crisp, autumn evening, he noticed the man again. Every night the same man. He just sat on the bus stop bench and watched as the chaplain come out. Then, he would turn his back.
You know what? I’ve had enough.
Brother Tomlin strode over to the man and tapped him on the shoulder. He turned, and the young chaplain got his first good look—long, stringy hair, scraggly beard, and an odor that just about knocked him down.
“See here, Sir,” Brother Tomlin began.
“Why do you hang around here all the time? Where do you belong?”
He watched as the man look down at his feet and then back into his eyes. “Ain’t breakin’ any laws, am I?”
“N-no.” He paused. You had to be so careful nowadays. He didn’t want to incite the man.
“Well thin, there ya go.” He was chewing on a piece of straw from a broom. Brother Tomlin didn’t even want to think what could be growing in that piece of filth.”
The old man chewed on his straw and continued looking Brother Tomlin over from head to toe. “Lemme ask you something,” he said.
Brother Tomlin raised an eyebrow.
“What do y’all do in there?” He pointed toward the building.
The chaplain drew himself up—proud. “We feed and clothe the poor and homeless.”
“Feed and clothe.” The old man grimaced and shook his head.
“Sir. We try to help those less fortunate than ourselves and point them to our Lord. Why are you so disgruntled?”
“Your Lord? And who might that be?”
“Why, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
“Jesus Christ, huh,” the man said. He squinted his eyes and wrinkled his nose. “Ya point people to Him, do ya?”
“Yes, we do.” Brother Tomlin’s gaze sized the man up. “You are in need of a savior, too, you know.”
“Oh, I am, am I?”
“Yes.” He got more animated, as he extracted his crisp, little pocket-sized Word of God from his jacket. “Just let me show you.”
“Ain’t no need fer you to pull that little book out and show me nuthin,”
“But, Sir, wouldn’t you like to be sure you’re going to Heaven?”
“Sonny, let me tell you somethin’.”
“All right,” Brother Tomlin said, in resignation. Another soul, lost forever.
“You guys have money donated and you give one meal a week to people if they come in and listen to ya preach. Right?”
“Yessir. Every week.”
“Ever so often, ya give somebody an old pair of jeans or somethin’” He gave the chaplain a sideward glance.
“Ya think that points ‘em to Jesus, do ya?”
“We show them their sin and their need of a savior.”
“Well, Boy,” the old man pulled a large, well-worn Bible from beneath his jacket. As he opened it, Brother Tomlin saw that nearly every passage was underlined, and the margins were full of notes.
“My Bible says in James, chapter 1 and verse 27, ‘Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.’ Do you visit the fatherless and widowed?”
“Well, no. We ask that they come here.”
“What if they can’t get here?”
“Well…I don’t know. God will lead someone to them,”
“What about you. Maybe God wants you to go to them?”
“No, God wants me here.”
The old man looked at the young preacher a moment and then flipped through the pages again.
“It says in my Bible, in Luke, chapter 14, and verse 23, ‘And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’ Whaddya got to say about that?”
The chaplain hung his head and said nothing.
“You may not recognize me, but I came down here and begged ya ta talk to my son. I know, it was my place, and I tried. But he wouldn’t listen to me. Too much bad blood over the years. I begged ya to try to reach him for Christ, but ya didn’t want to go to his neighborhood. Well, Jesus would have gone. My Lord Jesus would have gone.”
“I’m so sorry,” Brother Tomlin said. He rummaged in his shirt pocket and pulled out a pen and paper, holding them out to the old man. “Please give me his address. I’ll go now.”
The wizened old gentleman scratched his chin, then gave him a shrewd look taking the items. “Okay,” he said. He scribbled down an address and handed him back the paper.
Brother Tomlin looked at the note and lowered himself to the bench. “God! he cried out. “Forgive my sin of pride, that I thought myself to be too good to visit this man.”
He sat on the bench, weeping, as the old man walked away.
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|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
Don't know how I missed this one.
You paint a powerful lesson in verse; very, very well written. Thank you!
(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
|Reviewed by Saleh Razzouk
|I think this is of many links with " For Whom The Bell Tolls ". Though, Hemingway's bells, there, are imaginary and ring too far at the top of red hot war's mountains, in here the bells ring inside and within, in the heart and soul. It is very realistic , transparent, and shaped out.
Good one to read.
|Reviewed by David Thompson
You have penned a valuable, heartfelt lesson in this story. Keep up the good work.
From West Virginia -
David Lee Thompson
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|beautiful and heartfelt story; very well done!
(((HUGS))) and love, your new tx. friend, karen lynn. :D
welcome to authorsden; you are among friends! :)