Pastor Michael Scott slipped into his office on a Sunday morning between services. He immediately locked the door from the inside and walked over to his desk.
He sat in his chair and tried to relax but relaxation wouldn’t come. Finally, he folded his arms on the top of his desk and rested his head.
Tears began to well up inside as he sat alone. He was tired. Exhausted. He lifted his eyes toward heaven and whispered a prayer.
“I don’t think I can go on,” was all he said.
A plain white envelope slid under the door.
He stared at it.
He couldn’t remember hearing any sounds outside the door when the envelope appeared. He walked over to it and bent down to pick it up. It was of regular size, white, with no writing on it. He turned it over and over as he contemplated what he’d find on the inside.
Still. He didn’t open it.
He carried it over to his desk and sat back down.
He opened the envelope to find one piece of folded paper inside. He slowly unfolded it. There were two headings at the top of the page with single columns under each one. The first heading had the word Name, and the second heading was the word Date.
Mike looked at the first name listed.
The name sounded familiar.
He looked at the date on the column next to her name.
August 12, 1978.
He remembered. She was the daughter of one of the members at a church he used to pastor.
He looked at the second name.
Mike could see John’s face in his mind’s eye. He looked at the date next to John’s name.
November 17, 1978.
He tried to tie in the significance of the dates with the two names but failed to do so. His eyes continued down the page of names. They were all from his past. Some he remembered well, others just barely.
He stopped for a moment and thought about what he was looking at. He wondered where the envelope came from. He wondered who might have slipped it under the door.
He folded the paper and started to put it back in the envelope when he suddenly felt another piece of paper under it. This one too had names and dates on it. He stared in disbelief. They also were people he recognized, some more than others, but all recognizable.
Then there was a third page behind the second. And then a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth.
Page after page appeared, all with names and dates of people from Mike’s past.
Overwhelmed, he set the stack of papers down on his desk and leaned back in his chair.
“What does this all mean, Lord?” he asked aloud. “What does this all mean?”
His eyes landed on the envelope still resting on his desk. Mike noticed that something was different, that something had changed. The envelope was bordered with the colors of purple and gold. A ribbon was tied around the top right corner of the envelope.
He reached over and picked it up and when he did, a sweet aroma filled the air. He put the envelope to his nostrils and closed his eyes. With a deep satisfying breath he suddenly found himself in a far away place. A wonderful place filled with joy and happiness, grace and mercy. Love.
He opened his eyes and found himself back in his office, the envelope still in his hands. He breathed in the scent one last time and then slowly placed it on his desk next to the pages of names and dates.
He watched as words began to appear on the front of the envelope. He leaned over and stared as the words came into view.
Servant for the Kingdom
And he began to understand.
And he began to cry.
And he decided the he could indeed…go on.
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