Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)
- TITLE: Tricking Eddie Banks
By Sue Goodreau
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It was when his gaze finally settled upon his best friend, Eddie Banks, that his failing heart gave a tentative thud. Peace fell away as Simon inwardly wrestled with the same questions that had haunted him for thirty years. If he told Eddie the truth, would his friend continue to serve God, or would his steadfast faith be shaken to its very foundation? He pondered how one small act could leave him gasping for peace at the very time that life was slipping away--how one small act that had saved a soul could so torment his.
Simon had tricked Eddie Banks into believing.
Simon had known Eddie his whole life; they’d grown up next door to each other--the religious kid and the popular kid. Simon loved the Lord, and he wanted Eddie to love him, too. But Eddie just good-naturedly laughed off Simon’s preaching with a saying he’d coined: “If God’s calling me, I guess he forgot to leave his calling card.”
Simon refused to give up. He saw exceptional qualities in Eddie that God could use. Eddie was immensely likeable, attracting people like bees to honey. He was a confident leader, but never deemed it beneath him to help anyone in need. Simon prayed for Eddie throughout college and seminary, but when he moved back home to start a church, Eddie welcomed him with, “ I’m glad you’re back, but, sorry, no calling card yet.”
For ten more years, Simon prayed for Eddie. As they continued their friendship, Simon wondered why God was taking so long. Finally, Simon got impatient. If God wasn’t going to leave his calling card, then Simon would leave it for him.
Simon talked to a friend, a man who occasionally moved his pulpit to the streets and preached to anyone within hearing range. Soon the plan was in place. Simon invited Eddie to lunch, and afterwards they went for a walk that took them past the preacher. At Simon’s urging, they stopped to listen to a message of salvation given so passionately that he wondered how Eddie could refrain from dropping to his knees on the spot. Then the preacher paused and pointed at the handful of listeners.
“Jesus died for you. He wants you--all of you,” he shouted. Then he locked eyes with Eddie. Simon held his breath.
“Do you say, ‘God isn’t calling me.’ Say, ‘He didn’t leave his calling card’?” He held up a Bible as he continued looking at Eddie. “Here’s your calling card. Right here. Right here,” he emphasized. His eyes bore into Eddie’s as he lowered his voice.
“So, you gonna answer?”
Simon glanced at Eddie. His mouth was open, his face pale. Eddie finally broke eye contact with the preacher and strode away without a word. Simon didn’t hear from him for a week.
And then, a miracle.
Eddie showed up at Simon’s door, grilling him for hours about God and the Bible. He started going to church, attentively listening to Simon’s messages. Six months later, Simon tearfully blessed Eddie, his new brother, as he gave his life to Jesus. God had been using him ever since, and Simon could say without envy that Eddie had led more people to Christ than anyone he knew, including himself.
But now, as Simon lay dying, he yearned for peace. Eddie’s belief that God had spoken to him was based on a deception orchestrated by Simon. He'd be in torment until he confessed. But what if Eddie abandoned his faith? Yes, he had tricked Eddie, but the Truth had been revealed--and salvation had been the result. No one would hesitate to trick a loved one to prevent him from jumping off a bridge to certain death. Was saving a soul any different? WAS IT?
Simon’s breathing became shallow. His heartbeat was slowing. Eddie reached out, praying over him. GOD, WHAT DO I DO? Simon screamed inside.
WHAT DO I DO?
WHAT DO I DO?
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