Way back yonder in the “Olden Days” the only grocery store in Joshua was in the old part of town just west of 174. Back where the new city hall is now, was literally “Downtown” Joshua and it was that way from the 1880’s all the way into the 1980’s. Before we had the Brookshire’s grocery store we had Level’s and before we had Level’s we had a place called “B&W.”
Now “B&W” was owned by two local businessmen, Bill Woods and Wayne Bradshaw. It was a safe name because I would imagine that Bill told everybody that “B&W” stood for “Bill and Wayne” while Wayne told everybody that “B&W” stood for “Woods and Bradshaw.” It kept all of us wondering and it is proof that sometimes genius just pops up in small towns.
In my mind I can still see it the way it was. The “B&W” next to the Motts Five and Dime; that sweet old lady that worked behind the counter and waited patiently for me to count my change. Next to the Motts was the Whites Auto where Ken Kepple worked on cars and Wanda Brothers sold shotgun shells and plumbing parts. Across the street stood the OWL INN; the local restaurant hangout for the old timers, complete with enough smoke and conversation to choke out a chimney sweep. In the same vicinity we had an authentic old school water tower which I climbed and wrote my name, back before it was a felony to do such things.
I was nine years old and shirtless on that hot summer day when we rode our bikes all the way to town for something to do. In the four mile trip there, the devil had gotten a hold of my young mind and I began to plot something evil. Growing tired of trying to smoke the local grapevine when in fact it was probably just weeds, I decided I was going to steel a cigar from the “B&W.” When we walked into the old grocery store Mr. Bradshaw with his starched jeans and western shirt took a look at me and I immediately felt like he had some kind of X-ray vision that could see the intentions of my thieving heart. Underneath that balding head was a brain that had learned to figure out little boys that stood around the cigar section and acted like they were tying their shoes for twenty minutes. At the proper moment I grabbed a couple of Swisher Sweets and a King Edward. In one quick stroke they were under my ball cap, hid in the mess of my summertime hair and I was headed out the front door. Suddenly, a firm strong hand was on my shoulder and terror went down my spine with what seemed like the God-like voice of Mr. Bradshaw as he prophesied my inevitable fate. “Little boys go to jail for stealing cigars,” he said. I was busted. Taking off my hat I handed them to him and ran out the door teary eyed.
Let me fast forward into the future. About twenty-five years later my seven year old son was playing with some POKEMON cards. I asked where he got them and his little sister volunteered at the top of her lungs “he stole it, he stole it!” The informant had spoken and Ben was busted. He turned blood red and began to spit out things that he hoped would make sense. “I got too close to them and one fell in my pocket,” he explained. “Nuh-uh, he did it on purpose!” the four year old informant accused, not wanting her dad to be duped by such a brilliant alibi. Ben looked at his siater the way John Gotti must of looked at Sammy the bull. What I had feared had come upon me. It seems that every son has to fight his daddy’s demons.
“Load up,” I announced, “We’re headed to the store where you will turn them back in and suffer the consequences of stealing.” We are the Brewers, we are Christians and stealing is not part of it. Ben threw a fit and cried all the way there begging me not to make him do it. His sister tried to console him by assuring him that she would visit him in prison.
We asked for the manager, went to his office, sat down in front of his desk and the rest is Brewer history. The man really appreciated the impact I was trying to make and even asked a mall security guard to come in with us. Ben was convinced he was headed to Folsom with Johnny Cash.
It was overwhelming for Ben and when they asked him his name he muttered something at the floor that couldn’t be understood. So I answered for him. “This is my son, Benjamin.” I squeezed Ben’s hand and he looked up at me. I winked at him and for the first time he knew it was going to be Ok. “You can sit up straight son, I’m sitting here with you. You are not going anywhere, that I am not. Answer the man’s questions.”
His mess up didn’t mess up his relationship with me and I made that clear to him on the way home. After it was said and done I told him I was proud of him for facing the music.
Today’s confession of a highly caffeinated Christian is not just a tell all scandal for the tabloids. It’s a word from the Lord Jesus Christ concerning the truth of how things work. If you are Christian and if your faith and trust is in Him, your mess ups do not and can not mess up your relationship with God. He is bigger than us and still proud to be called our Father God.
In the book of Hebrews chapter 11 it talks about people of faith and it gives us the “hall of fame.” Among those listed are many who believed God and yet never made it into the promises in which you and I have the opportunity to walk. Because they lived by God’s word and looked for something better than what is naturally around us, the scripture proclaims “….. God is not ashamed to be called their God.” Hebrews 11:16
Your Spiritual Daddy is proud of you and if your faith is in Him, you are not going to go through anything that He will not go through with you. He stands by you and He stands for you. Make your daddy proud and do the same for Him.
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