Little Green Books

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

–Isaiah 55:10, 11

 

My mom and dad were Gideons for some thirty years before Mom died. Dad still is. And so are my husband and I, although the hubby is a lot more active. That’s why I was at the Pastor’s Banquet on Monday night. Trying to support the hubby and all.

The best thing about the banquets in particular is that they include testimonies. The one given this time moved me a lot because it was about a college distribution that took place more than thirty years ago. Both my husband and my dad are involved with distributions. The hubby says that occasionally people say they don’t want a testament, but not very often. My dad distributes in a big city, though. (Well, if you call Toledo big…). The last time he distributed at a high school, one student told him that she was an atheist, and a car of students drove by yelling that they loved Satan. Dad’s 82; that bothered him. Still, it was proof that he was in the right place, at least in my mind.

The speaker at the banquet talked about a distribution on his college campus in 1974. It was raining, he said, and he saw this guy in a suit standing under the eaves of a building passing out little green books. That’s the color college testaments are. Anyway, the speaker said he didn’t take one.

A few hours later, the speaker passed by the same building on the way back to his dorm. It was still raining. And the guy in the suit was still there. Didn’t look like he had had much success, but the speaker thought you had to admire his dedication. Again, he turned down a testament.

Later that night, someone knocked on the speaker’s dormitory door. It was one of the dorm jokers, and he was carrying a box of…little green Bibles. The speaker was appalled. How low do you have to go to steal Bibles? Despite the speaker’s protests, the joker pushed a testament into his hand. “You have to take it,” is what he said. So he did, and he stuck it in his sock drawer. Where it stayed for a year and a half.

Eighteen months later, the speaker pulled the Testament out and started reading. Surprisingly, once he got past the begats in Matthew 1, he was interested. Then, being a skeptical college guy, he decided to do an experiment. He put a pad of paper by his window and told God that, if He was really there, He needed to write something on the pad of paper so the the speaker could read it the next day.

He hardly slept that night, he said. If there was something on the pad the next morning, he was sure he would burn in hell. But…what if there wasn’t?

And there wasn’t a message on the pad in the morning. But the speaker decided that since he was terrified of not finding a message, he must believe in the Writer. And that was the beginning of his faith journey.

This man said that he had heard of a man who saw something up on his porch roof. When he climbed up to get it down, he found…an orange New Testament, the kind the Gideons distribute at grade schools. The man figured that since it landed on his porch roof…why would anyone throw a testament there?…it must have been meant for him. And so he started reading. And believing.

The point of his talk, I guess was this. He said he was sure he would meet the Gideon that had been distributing testaments during his college years in heaven one day. And he was going to wrap his arms around the man and tell him that, like Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50, what the campus prankster meant for evil,that being the theft of the box of testaments, God meant for good.

That made me think of my dad on that high school campus, so I related the story to him. Sometimes working the fields gets tiresome and depressing, but we never know what seed we have sown, now do we?

 

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” 16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept.

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Genesis 50:15-21

 

 

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