Running for a Book
The store owner was delighted to learn that a group of young people were selling uplifting materials in his community. He purchased a four-book set that included Patriarchs and Prophets and Acts of the Apostles. The canvasser left his office and headed down the street, lighthearted and rejoicing. This was a good day!
But within moments he realized someone was following him–and fast. “I want that Christian book. The one my friend bought.” The man who had been following him seemed to be referring to one of the four books he had just sold. Our canvasser offered each of the three books still in his bag. “No. . . No. . . No.” The man wanted Patriarchs and Prophets but the canvasser had no more in his bag. He was sure others on his team had copies, so he sent the man back to the store with the promise that he would bring the book to him.
But not soon enough. Only a few stops down the street, our canvasser realized the man was at his elbow. “Do you have my Christian book yet? Do you?” This must be very important to the man, ye though, so he got on his phone with an emergency call to a teammate. Within moments, our canvasser ceremoniously presented a copy of Patriarchs and Prophets to the grinning customer before him. In a gesture filled with emotion, the man took the book reverently and pressed it slowly into his heart.
Some day we will learn why it he considered it such a precious treasure and what God is doing even now through its message.
In the months after Amina’s husband left her, she and her three children lived on scraps of food. Without an income of any kind, she was thankful for the food distribution at a nearby church that a friend told her about. One week, after standing in the crowd outside the Adventist church waiting for the monthly distribution, she found herself wondering why Christians would even care.
She decided to find out. She asked the man who seemed to be in charge if she could join the group that met in the church each week. Like any pastor, he was delighted to welcome her. She began attending faithfully and participating in the Bible studies. She will never be the same. “Their kindness to me when I had so many needs has transformed my life” she explained to a new friend as she beamed in anticipation of being baptized.
But it hasn’t happened yet. Amina abruptly stopped attending the weekly study. Nobody saw her at the food distributions even. But word came back to the pastor that her husband had suddenly reappeared and, on learning that she had been studying the Bible, had threatened her life.
For right now her story may appear paused, but God knows where she is. She is not alone.
The Awkward Witness
The jokes coming from the restaurant workers made it awkward for the canvassers to approach any potential customers with their books. The fun the workers were having at the obvious “outsiders'” expense grew as one joke was followed by a better joke, until the commotion brought out the manager. He was not amused. “What’s going on?”
The workers kept snickering, apparently unfazed by their boss’s presence. One of the canvassers quietly handed the boss a health book. “Please God, stop them from laughing at us and show them that this work is good,” one of the canvassers prayed as the manager inspected it. Even though the distraction continued, one of the canvassers proceeded with a presentation as the manager listened patiently to everything he had to say. Then, with hardly an expression, the boss nodded, reached for his wallet, and slowly counted out the bills for a full set of books. The room fell silent. God has many ways for confirming that His work is a good work. He cannot be shamed.