Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: Old Floyd
By Brenda Kern
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At Floyd's funeral, the pastor had opened up the service to anybody who 'wanted to say something.'
First out of his seat was Gerry; most knew of his violent childhood. Gerry cleared his throat and began: "I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Old Floyd there. I'm ashamed to admit that I hit my oldest boy a time or two, and I feared what I was capable of. One evenin' Floyd came over and asked if he might talk with me, and he came right out and told me that he knew I was hittin' the kid sometimes, and he also knew I felt bad about it.
"Anyways," Gerry fumbled with his hat, but wanted to say his piece. "Anyways, Floyd said he knew about my pappy, and he told me I could break that cycle in my family--break it right now. He said, 'Gerry, what you need is the Good Lord Jesus. Ask Him to help you feel gentle when you feel like hittin', and test Him on it. See if He doesn't help you out, somethin' mighty.'"
The big man's voice cracked, but he pushed on. "I want to testify here and now, in front of God and you, that from that day 'til now, that's exactly what I've done, and I ain't never hit my kids or my wife or even kicked the dog since then, not once. Thank God for Old Floyd."
Next out of his seat was Pete. He had been in an out of institutions during his early adulthood, but had hit an even keel at some point. Most folks figured that they had finally found the right drug. Pete set them straight, though. "My life was a mess, and I was thinkin' that I should probably end it all, and who saw me at the store but Floyd. We talked for a while, then he said, 'Pete, what you need is the Good Lord Jesus. Ask Him to calm your soul and cleanse your mind, and He will!' This was quite a challenge to me, because I didn't believe in God, but I was desperate. I got on my knees, and God gave me peace. Yep, thank God for Old Floyd."
Pat, who had stuttered up into his teens, flawlessly spoke about the patience Floyd had while working with him hours upon hours after school to smooth out his speech, when everyone else had given up.
Cal Gooden talked next about how nervous he had been to move into the county, where his would be the first Black family in the area. He said, "Well, you know the story. Family after family stopped by with a casserole, or produce, or a load of firewood--it seemed the whole valley was welcoming us! We only found out last year that Floyd was the ringleader behind all this goodness. Thank God for Old Floyd."
Frank popped up and said "My turn!" He related a lesson in faithfulness that Floyd had taught him, then Jim and Janice shared how Floyd had quietly helped them adopt against all odds, and how little Darla had brought them so much joy.
When Kent rose to speak, everyone hushed. Decades ago Floyd had "stolen" Lois away, and Kent had held a grudge about it for a very long time. He had systematically tried to ruin Floyd's life, but couldn't make even a dent. "Floyd just went on killin' me with kindness until I finally had to give up, because my anger was tearin' me apart. Now, I love him like a brother, and I'm gonna miss him so much!"
While everybody sniffled, Sam, previously known as Sam the Drunk, rose. He was brief: "Floyd also told me, 'Sam, what you need is the Good Lord Jesus. He will help you, I promise you.' Well, he was right. 78 days."
The men offered a hearty "Praise the Lord!" and the women chimed in with "Amen!"
Sam sat, and Lois thought about the 60-some years of love she had shared with Floyd. She wondered if Floyd was listening, and what he thought about all this praise being heaped on him...
But Floyd wasn't paying one lick of attention. He was too busy whooping and hollering his own song of worship to the Good Lord Jesus, and dancing a little dance of praise.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23, NIV
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