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I want to tell you about a fellow and the first time I ever saw him in Church. He was in his mid-70's, he had thinning white hair and a neat brown suit.
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I had invited him to come many times in the past and several other Christian friends had talked to him about the Lord and had tried to share the Good News with him.
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He was a well-respected, honest man with so many of the characteristics that a Christian should have, but, he had never come to Christ.
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I remember asking him a few years ago if he had ever been to a church service?
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He hesitated a minute.  Then he told me about a childhood experience some sixty years ago.  He told me he was one of many children in a large, very poor family.  He told me how his parents had to struggle just to provide food and that they had very little left for housing and clothing.
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When he was about ten, some neighbors invited him to worship with them.  He said the Bible class had been very exciting.  He told me he had never heard such songs and stories before and he had never heard anyone read from the Bible before.
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He said after Bible class was over, the teacher took him aside and said, Son, please, don't come again dressed like you are now.  We want to look our best when we come to worship the Lord.
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He said he remembered standing in his ragged, un-patched overalls, looking down at his bare feet when he told her, no ma'am, I won't, ever!
And he said he never did.
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There must have been other factors to harden him so, but this experience formed a large part of the bitterness in his heart.  I'm sure the Bible teacher meant well.  But, what if she had studied and accepted the teachings found in the second chapter of James?  What if she had put her arms around that dirty, ragged little boy and said, Son, I'm so glad you are here, and I hope you will come every chance you get to hear more about Jesus!
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I pray that I might always be open to the tenderness of a child's heart, and that I might never fail to see beyond the appearance and behavior of a child to the eternal possibilities within.
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Yes, after all those years I saw him in church for the first time and as I looked at that immaculately dressed old gentleman, lying in his casket, I thought of the little boy of long ago. And I could almost hear him say:
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No ma'am, I won't ever! And I cried.