Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fame (05/10/12)
TITLE: You Can Thank Me in Heaven
By djvenzke Venzke
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But, before I tell you what happened, I have to go back a few years…back to life on earth. I lived in a large city in America before the end of the age came.
I commuted by bus through a depressed part of the city every day. I switched buses at an unsavory bus stop. It was always such a relief to get on the next bus.
Safe in my bus, I viewed sidewalks populated with people who couldn't afford many things I took for granted. I felt sorry for the children in ragged, dirty clothes. I wished the prostitutes didn't have to do what they did to get by. I saw drug deals going down in alleys. I was always glad when the bus carried me away from the depressing area.
Sometimes I wondered if there was anything I could do to help the people I saw. But, I was one person and there were so many of them.
There was one guy who seemed different. I noticed him more after he sat by me at the bus stop one day. He didn't seem destitute like most other people around there.
"How are you doing today?" asked the small elderly man. "I'm Newman." He was offering his hand.
I shook it hesitantly. "Fine."
"Good. I see you here most days. You work downtown?" he asked.
"Yes," I answered, unsure how much I should open up to a total stranger.
"You seem nervous. You don't need to be. The people are good people at heart, once you get to know them. They're all looking for something you have. Know what that is?" he asked.
"Money?" I guessed with a snort.
"No. It's something far more important, far more spiritual. They don't even know it themselves, but they are all looking for the Father's Love."
From that day on I noticed him a lot. He was usually talking with individuals or small groups. The people he spoke with usually looked interested in what the small man had to say.
One day I didn't see him. Weeks passed and I assumed he had moved on.
What a thrill when I saw him today before God's throne. His life was reviewed and the things I learned astounded me.
Newman was a retired businessman who dedicated his final years and accumulated fortune to helping the poor of the city. He walked the streets of the depressed neighborhoods seeking to be a blessing. He prayed for people and with people. He gave finances. He encouraged and advised. He directed people toward opportunities for education and employment. He also shared the good news of the gospel, helping many receive salvation. Finally, Newman gave his life saving others from a burning building.
What impressed me the most, though, was his humility. I learned he always deferred any thanks to God who chuckled when He shared a favorite saying used by Newman in life; "You can thank me in heaven."
"Newman," God spoke so all could hear, "today is that day." Of the vast multitude of observers the Father asked, "Who here was helped by this unselfish servant of mine?"
An ovation began immediately and grew in volume. Newman stood uncomfortable with the obvious extent of his fame. A small smile pulled at the corners of his mouth.
Then a look of panic replaced the smile. Newman raised his hands over his head, and waved wildly like a man trying to stop an approaching car from plunging over a cliff. The adulation only increased.
He tugged on an angel's robe. The tall creature leaned down and listened to Newman's impassioned plea. Then, he stood, levitated before the throng and spoke one word; "Stop!"
There was instant, confused silence. The assembled waited. Perhaps Newman wanted to address us.
Instead, he turned his back to us and faced the Throne. The dazzling brightness of the Father's Glory reduced Newman to a small silhouette. That form raised its arms like a toddler wanting to be picked up. Then, Newman began to clap his hands, applauding…the Father. Simultaneous worship came from all the angels and other heavenly beings. They were followed almost immediately by all of us.
Then…I can hardly say it…My throat tightens at the memory… Jesus stood and joined the adoring multitude and applauded God as well.
As one, we worshiped the Father, eternally thankful for his unfathomable love.
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