B.O.G.O.

Hebrews 13:2

That’s right, folks, this week is a Buy-one-get-one-free sale; two blogs for the price of one, and you don’t even have to wait until Black Friday.  What’s more, if you are not 100 percent satisfied, just send me an email, and I will gladly double your money back.  You just can’t find a deal like that anywhere else.

The truth is, I have one more Thanksgiving story I wanted to share. I toyed with the idea of waiting until next year, but there are a couple of problems with that. The main issue is, I might forget between now and then.  Also, due to rising overhead costs in blogging, there could be lay-offs in the staff.  Thus, I decided to extend this Thanksgiving day anecdote.

I was in my early teen years, soon after my father had died.  My family took the opportunity to get out of town and spend the holiday, as we often did, with Mammaw, Uncle Glen and Aunt Sue, Eddie, Darrell, and the other cousins, in the scenic destination of Post, Texas.

Thanksgiving day had come, and the food was all ready. We were just about to bless the food, when the doorbell rang.  If memory serves, Sue went to the door and looked out to see who was there.  She immediately walked away and said to Glen, “You need to get this.” At the door was a person who seemed to be a bum, a hobo, the kind my father often brought home to dinner.  Glen opened to door to greet the surprise visitor.  The man gave his name, said he was hungry, and asked if he could share Thanksgiving dinner with our family.  Glen, being a man of the Word and of the Gospel, invited him in.

I think the fellow introduced himself as Andrew. Of course, it’s been years ago, and I can’t remember for sure. I feel positive one of my relatives will refresh my memory. That’s a service our kith-and-kin gladly provide each other, correction.  At any rate, it was a common name, and the name I will use for the sake of the story.

Andrew sat and ate with us, commenting on how good the food was and how glad he was that we opted to share it with him.  After the dinner, we all gathered in the living room, waiting for the football game to begin.  Andrew made some small talk, then asked if we might have a guitar.  We had one and brought it out.  I believe Darrell may have been attempting to learn, so he had a rather cheap guitar in his closet.  Andrew informed us he had a song he would like to share, a song about Jesus.

jasmine-by-takamine

As he started to play, it became obvious there was no rhythm or rhyme, no detectable pattern.  Andrew “played” and sang his song.  Friends, it was, by all accepted musical standards, bad – no… terrible…horrible…awful.  We kids gave each other a knowing glance and snickered as he sang. He played and sang for a bit, then put the guitar down.  At that point, an uncomfortable silence fell on the room.  Andrew somberly looked around the room, then said, “You kids didn’t think that was very good, did you.” We hung our heads, like kids caught with our hands in the candy jar.  No one responded. He continued, “It wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t for you. That song was for God.  Be very careful that you don’t judge people by the quality of their performance, but by their heart.  God loved that song because it was from my heart.”

Now, he turned his attention to Glen.  His comments were something to the effect of, “I know you are in a tough situation here as the pastor of this church.  There are a lot of obstacles in the way of what you are trying to do, and a lot of people are opposing you. God wants you to know, he is with you. Keep up the good work.”  Then, Andrew stood up and asked if someone could take him to the hotel where he was staying.  Eddie had just received his driver’s license and was anxious for any excuse to use it.  As his younger kin, David, Darrell, and I were more than happy to ride in the car with him.

We all loaded into Eddie’s new (old) 1965 Ford Falcon (Or maybe it was the lime green AMC Rebel).  We put Andrew in the front seat and headed off.  He directed us to the dumpy little hotel in town and the room he occupied.  Andrew thanked us again for our time and our hospitality, got out of the car and entered the hotel room.

We drove about three or four blocks away, when one of the bunch noticed he had left his knit toboggan hat in the back seat.  It was pretty chilly, and we thought he might like it back, so we headed back to the room.  One of us got out and knocked on the door.  No answer.  For a few minutes, we knocked, but there was no response.  We drove up to the office and took the little toboggan hat in, explaining the situation.  Would the manager please make sure Andrew in room number so-and-so got his hat back. The fellow at the desk furrowed his brow with a questioning look on his face.  To his knowledge, that room had not been occupied for a couple of weeks.

I’m not going to offer possible explanations for that scenario, other than something that sounds like an episode of The Twilight Zone. I will say, however, I have been since been reluctant to criticize anyone who offers to God a musically sub-par performance.  A couple of blogs ago, I talked about Leonard and guardian angels.  In Scripture, there are also messenger angels, and this fellow seemed to know a lot about teenagers and struggling pastors.  His message to Glen was spot-on. There were indeed struggles in the church; Glen did persevere, and he spent the better part of a decade seeing a church transformed.

Not all strangers are angels, to be sure. The author of Hebrews warns us, though, to be careful to entertain strangers. They don’t come much stranger than Andrew.  Sometimes, they actually are angels. The point of that passage is we may never know.

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Published in: on November 23, 2017 at 12:56 am  Leave a Comment  

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