Little boy Danny yearned to make his first dollar. His mother drew him into her arms. “Danny-boy, you’ll be out of school soon enough and will work the rest of your life.” He sat on her lap as she shared with him his favorite Bible story.
“Children were brought to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them. The disciples were angry. Jesus stood up for them, though. He said, ‘Let the little children come to me… for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’"
Danny wanted to sit on Jesus’ lap with the other kids but the thought of making lots of money made his ears close up–tight.
The adult Daniel stopped dreaming. He realized the here and now wasn’t good enough for him and hadn’t been since he was seven. And now, at twenty-five, Daniel ached for more but he also knew that more would never be enough.
He hugged himself to stop shaking. He sat down at the solid oak desk in his massive office and put his head in his hands. Through tears he studied the itemized accounting of charities he supported but realization hit him that maybe this wasn’t the answer either.
Even as his past plagued him, thoughts of his future made him dizzy. He held the rail as the elevator made its descent. Outside, his life played out before him like a timeline. Sweat stained his shirt and burned his eyes. His heart fluttered in his chest.
Completely unaware of his surroundings, Daniel moved forward until something touched the perfectly creased cuff of his slacks. A man sat on the ground in tattered clothes. Daniel grabbed a twenty from his billfold and shoved it into the rusty can. He held his head a little higher after that; pleased he could help. But the further Daniel went, that good feeling left. The same old turmoil overtook him.
Children’s laughter filtered through the door of a run-down building. It pulled him inside, almost against his will, yet at the same time, he felt at home. An elderly woman smiled at him and an unseen force pushed him down into her outstretched arms. She drew him close. Tears filled Daniel’s eyes.
A man sat on the floor with children gathered around. He held their attention as he told them a Bible story.
The service ended but Daniel stayed planted in the pew. So did the woman.
“My name’s Norma. What’s your name, young man?”
Norma called the pastor over, her arms still around Daniel protectively. “This is Daniel.”
Pastor Roger shook his hand.
Daniel sat, hunched; not looking at all like a self-assured millionaire. “I’ve been chasing something and I can’t catch it. That scripture you shared with the kids – my mom always read it to me. Hearing it again reminded me that I’ve struggled with this since childhood. Pastor, what good thing do I need to do to get eternal life?”
Pastor smiled. “Daniel, God is the only One that is good. In order to get into the Kingdom of God, you have to do what God says.”
Daniel had a pen ready to take notes.
“He says not to murder.”
Daniel didn’t bother to write that down.
Pastor continued, “Don’t steal, don’t lie, and honor your father and mother.
Daniel’s pen was poised, ready for more.
“And this: love your neighbor just like yourself.”
“But Pastor, I’m good with all this. There’s got to be more.”
“If you’re ready to really commit - sell everything and give it to the poor. All your wealth will be in heaven. Then you can follow Jesus.”
Daniel’s face turned various shades of red. “That’s not fair. I worked hard to get where I am.” He left abruptly.
As he walked, Daniel lost himself to little boy Danny again. His slacks fell to his knees and his shirt became a dress. His shoes flopped like when he wore his daddy’s. His mom said, “Remember Danny-boy: camels don’t fit through the eye of a needle and rich men have trouble getting into the Kingdom of God.”
Adult Daniel looked down, surprised that his clothes fit again. He grinned big and switched directions. He almost skipped back to the church, he was so happy. Daniel burst into the sanctuary. He shouted, “Pastor, I finally get it! I’m not too late, am I?”
Tears ran down Norma’s face as Pastor caught Daniel up in a bear hug. “No, it’s never too late. Welcome!”
Author’s note: Scripture verses and my own paraphrases are taken from Matthew 19.
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