Child of the King
Ten-year-old Lewis Bentley plodded along the snow-covered holler road that led to the small Kentucky schoolhouse. The over-sized patched coat and knee-high boots made walking more difficult in the foot high snow, but Lewis was thankful to have the hand-me-down clothes and attend school. He received three dollars a week for warming up the building before the teacher and students arrived. Lewis, an orphan, felt blessed to have food and shelter; he thanked the Lord everyday. The long walk to and from school gave him time to talk with God.
“But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14 NIV)
Lewis’s parents were both dead. His papa died three years ago from tuberculosis, one year ago his mama died in a car accident leaving eight orphaned children. Lewis and his four and five year old sisters lived with their Uncle Jake and Aunt Emma on a farm about a mile from the school. He cleaned the barn, fed the animals, and helped Aunt Emma with household tasks. When he had time, Lewis studied his school lessons. The three oldest boys did not go to school; they lived with a neighbor and helped him on his farm, while his three-year-old twin brothers resided with the preacher and his wife. The only time all of them were together was at church on Sundays. Lewis looked forward to Sundays, hearing about Jesus and spending a few hours with his brothers and sisters.
“God has said ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV)
Lewis had cried for months following his mother’s death, nothing or no one could console him. A few days ago, the Lord appeared to him in a dream asking Lewis to trust Him, He would take care of him. He remembered his parents gathering all eight of them together in the evenings, reading the Bible, and praying with them. Except for the twins, each child came to know to Jesus Christ as their Savior.
“’Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.’” (Matthew 5:4 NIV)
Lewis unlocked the door to the schoolhouse and went inside, glad to be out of the wind and cold. He gathered up the kindling and wood and made a fire in each of the three potbelly stoves located in the kitchen, dining room, and large teaching room. Twenty minutes later, the schoolhouse was warm and ready for the teacher and the other students, who were due to arrive in fifteen minutes.
“’Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven’.” (Matthew 5:16 NIV)
Mrs. Kelly, the cook, walked in greeting Lewis as she passed him on her way to the kitchen. The school hired her last year to prepare hot lunches for the schoolchildren; for many of them this was the only meal they received that day. Lewis thought of the mealtimes with his family and how often papa and mama taught them to be thankful for everything and trust in the Lord for all their needs.
“’Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.’” (Luke 12:22-23 NIV)
It was time for classes to begin; Lewis walked over and stood next to a boy his age. Mrs. Bailey, the teacher, led them in the pledge of allegiance and a short prayer. Everyone sat down on a bench and waited for Mrs. Bailey. Lewis opened up his Math book and began reading. God had given him a chance to make something out of himself and he was determined not to disappoint Him. Lewis decided that day to give his life to God, letting Him use it for His glory. After all, he was a child of the King.
“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17 NIV)
Lewis Bentley was my father. He taught his five children to love God, be responsible citizens, and help others less fortunate. Dad was a humble man, loving God, his family, and others. He owned two businesses and never retired, dying nine years ago at the age of seventy-five.
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