Reblogged from: Midweek Manna
My friend and colleague, Jerry Hilbun, told a story in his sermon to the Clergy session of Annual Conference that has stayed with me. I do not think he would mind me sharing it.
It seems that there was a man who had done really well in life. Well enough that he was able to buy a new black Jaguar car. (It is amazing how much we invest in our cars these days. As a preacher I wish that some of my parishioners giving to the church matched their car payment--but that is another story!) The man was really proud of his new car as he should be.
He was breezing down the main road of town one day when all of a sudden out of nowhere a brick came flying. The brick hit the side of his car making a terrible dent in it. The man could not believe it! As you might expect, he stopped and backed up to see who do such a think to his new toy. There he found a young boy.
Before the young boy could say anything, the man began to speak harshly to the little boy. "Why would you do such a thing! What kind of a hoodlum are you!" In very quick time, he made it known to the young boy that he would face severe punishment for his deed.
In tears, the young boy finally was allowed to speak. "I am so sorry Mister. But I did not know how to get help!" And at that he pointed in another direction. "I was taking my brother for a walk and his wheelchair turned over. I can't get him up! So I threw the brick hoping that you would stop to help me!"
The man looked to where the young man was pointing. A large lump in his throat and gut began to form as he saw a boy sprawled in the bushes and a wheelchair wheel spinning in the air. He rushed over to pick the boy up and returned him to his chair.
As he was helping the little boy continued to apologize and said he would do whatever was needed to fix the car. The boy had no idea how much it would cost to do such a repair.
The man assured the little boy that everything was okay. He apologized for his harsh words and even offered to take them both home. The boys refused and started down the sidewalk again.
The man admitted that he slithered back into his new Jag. He had never felt so small in all of his life. The dent in the Jag seemed insignificant. As he drove away, he realized his life was changed. From that day on he made a promise to God that he would never be too busy to stop and help others. He also made a promise to God that he would reserve judgment of others. A new kind of gentleness came into his life.
And the dent in his Jag? It was never fixed. It served as a reminder of how imperfect life is.
Thanks for the story Jerry. It meets me more than I like to admit!
Pray for me as I pray for you.
In the Master's Name,
Dr. M. Jack O'Dell