Glory to the Hero

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It is a breezy summer morn here in Ballengee. I find myself slowly rocking back and forth in the old rocker on the porch of the log cabin which I call my castle in the majestic hills that surround the Almost Heaven. Saturday a day to set aside from the labors of the week at Tom Lively’s feed store and take in the beauty of the sun’s ascent above the eastern mountains that rise above our little community. I know as the sun continues to climb to its high noon perch that the temperatures will also climb with it. But for now the breeze is cool with a little crispness which almost compels me to jump into the chores that I have planned for my day.

There are the ever persistent weeds that spring up in the garden just as soon, it seems, as their ancestors have been removed. If I ever give myself pause from the diligent removal of those weeds from my garden, then soon they would take the lead robbing the nourishment from the rest of the prized vegetables that reside there. The plump red and yellow tomatoes, the stalks of tall golden corn, snap beans, a row of strawberries, and a few mounds of potatoes, all of which so greatly inspire the supper table and draw the appetite of all.

I know I should be getting up and going right to it, my chores, as I do not want the day to get away from me the way it did last Saturday. It too, the Saturday of last, was a fine crisp morning, which found its start in the old rocker on the porch. It too was a day to be set aside for the chore of garden mending. It too fell to a great fault of mine. I can be so easily distracted from my chores to activities of leisure. Even if it is not an activity that is high upon the attraction list of things I like to do. Such as fishing, I do not care for fish, I do not care to clean fish, and I do not like to go fishing. I reckon it fair to say that I am not normal for the men fold here in Ballengee, as the “gone fishing” signs pop everywhere here on a Saturday.

I was, honestly, starting to get up out of the rocker when Homer Massy came walking up the path to my cabin. Homer Massy is a man that I truly admire to the fullest extent. He is one of the few that what you hear and see is just what he is. He is a man that never misses an opportunity to bring the Kingdom of God closer to this old world. The Lord must honor Homer as he is always at the right place to show glory to the heavenly Father. Homer is a man that I hope to attain his level of maturity in my life both in age and stature. So far I have only be racing to catch his age but then I wonder if I ever will, as he has always managed to stay twenty years ahead of me. There is one thing that Homer and I share and that is neither of us like to go fishing. Perhaps we are the only two in Ballengee that have no desire for the sport. Which is why I was surprised to see Homer coming up the path with nothing else but two fishing poles in his hands.

We gave each other our greeting and Homer sat down on the porch swing as I returned to the rocker. We sat silent for a moment and then Homer asked if I’d like to go fishing with him down on the Greenbrier. Well, no I wouldn’t actually, but I enjoyed Homer’s company so much that I said “sure.” So I made us some bologna sandwiches and grabbed a couple apples of the tree and off we went to the Greenbrier each carrying a fishing pole. I knew that we were about to have an adventure, as neither one of us had a clue how to catch a fish.

We ended up along the banks of the Greenbrier at one of the few places that we knew the water was deep enough for large fish to congregate in, if that is what fish do in their society. Once settled in we each grabbed a fishing pole and then it dawned on me that we had no bait. I asked Homer what we were to use for bait and he replied with a question. “Do we really want to catch a fish?” I knew I didn’t and figured he didn’t so we cast our lines and just sat there taking in the peaceful sounds of a passing river.

One subject that is common to each of us is talking about Church. The Church on the Knoll in particular as we both attended there. So we conversed as to the improvements we would like to accomplish to the Church building and grounds. We discussed through some of the victories and trials of other members that we knew about. And of course, we talked about Brother Simms and the messages that he has been giving us on Sunday. And Homer talked about the fascinating subject of the history that surrounded the community of Ballengee, which always causes my ears to perk up. All in all it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday. We enjoyed the beauty of the nature of God that surrounded us, I enjoyed the nature of God in my friend Homer, and it was enjoying to feel the peace of country life in the almost heaven of Ballengee.

The ground rises up about fifty feet in a short space from where Homer and I were fishing, or just sinking our lines into the drifting waters of the Greenbrier. From atop of the rise a young man, maybe late teens of early twenties jumped off and dove into the river. The splash of the first dive surprised us and if there were any fish even thinking about biting a bait less hook that now was not going to happen. Our conversation lightened up as we watched the diver climb back to his perch to dive again. He then dove again into the Greenbrier and it was an amazing dive. It was what I called in my mind a double twister. As he dove into the water he twisted around three times and did three somersaults at the same time diving into the water in perfect form hands first. Not being an expert diver either I thought maybe he was practicing for the Olympics. Homer and I watched him dive several times before we returned to our conversation.

While we had returned to the chit chat of events in Ballengee we were again interrupted by the sound of a hard thud and the horrible splash of a belly flop. Experiences has taught me that this dive of the diver had to hurt. The real scary part of the miss-dive was the diver did not come up after landing in the water. When I realized that he was in trouble I set down the pole and went into the river to fish him out before he drowned. The water of the Greenbrier is clear and it was no problem finding where the diver was. I grabbed him around the shoulders and brought him to the surface and managed to bring him to the shore.

He was badly choked up from water that he had taken in so we put him on his stomach and Homer started pushing some of the water out of his lungs. I took of up the path to the gravel road where the 57 Ford pickup was to get a blanket from behind the seat. Don’t really know why I did that but it seemed like it was something that needed to be done for the young man. When I got back to where Homer and the young man where Homer had him revived and they were talking a little bit together. I wrapped the fellow, whose name Homer told me was Frank, in the blanket. We walked him up to the truck and took him the Ballengee clinic.

Like always, being with Homer is an adventure about to happen. Things always happen where Homer is and when Homer, who always takes the initiative, gets involved the outcome is always for God’s glory. I reckon I had better explain that to you as well.

Sunday was another fine day at the Church on the Knoll. Brother John gave us a thoughtful Sunday school lesson on the saving grace of God from Ephesians 2:8. Brother Simms spoke on remembering the defining moments of life. He spoke of our salvation by the cleansing blood of Jesus, Baptism as our testimony of the renewed life that we now have, and the Holy Communion of the Lord’s Supper. How they all show us the love that God has for man the crown of His creation. That we should share that love with everyone who the Lord brings into our path.

The message that Brother’s John and Simms shared with us prompted Homer Massy to stand before our little Church family after service and give a testimony of our fishing trip experience. Of how Frank had sunk into the waters of the Greenbrier and I fished him out. Of how while we sat there with him on the bank the Lord used Homer to lead Frank to the realization the he was a lost sinner in need of God’s free gift of salvation as we never know what lies ahead just a minute away. And the miracle that God performed by saving Frank’s soul. It was a moving testimony that only Homer Massy could give in such a miraculous way. As the members of our Church family listened in silent awe to Homer’s testimony the door of the Church opened.

From the back of the little Church a young man named Frank walked forward to the front and stood all of us in the congregation. He came to testify of the greatest hero in his life. In my small minded way I was thinking that I was about to be embarrassed. Frank began to say that through the scariest moment in his life he felt that all was lost. He felt a loss that was so deep that there would never be a way to find escape. Then as Mister Massey shared the Good News of Jesus Christ he felt a hope as never before. And Frank said this, “I have come here today to this Church to thank the greatest Hero that has ever been in this world, Jesus Christ.” Last Sunday at the Church on the Knoll was I must say a defining moment in all our lives there at the gathering.

Not as I prepare to rise and get the gardening chores done. The ones from last Saturday and the ones of today, I somehow in the near back of my desires hope that Homer would come walking of the path with two fishing poles. As much as I need to get caught up on the chores around this old cabin home in the almost heaven, it sure would be a get day for Homer and I to go fishing for men.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

July 1, 2014

Durant Bible College

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