During the waning years of the depression in a small
Southeastern Idaho community, I used to stop by
Brother Miller's roadside stand for farm-fresh produce as
the season made it available. Food and money were still
extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively. |
One particular day Brother Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Brother Miller and the ragged boy next to me.
"Hello Barry, how are you today?" "H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas...... sure look good." "They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?" "Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time." "Good. Anything I can help you with?" "No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas." "Would you like to take some home?" "No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with." "Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?" "All I got's my prize marble here." "Is that right? Let me see it." "Here 'tis. She's a dandy." "I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?" "Not 'zackley .....but, almost." "Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble." "Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said: "There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."
I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Utah but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys and their bartering. Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Brother Miller had recently died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.
Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. One was in a military uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed, by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket. "Those three young men, that just left, were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size...they came to pay their debt." "We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho."
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny, red marbles.
In the same way that Brother Miller was delighted to provide for the little boys who had big needs for their families, so our Heavenly Father provides food for His children, and so much more as well! He knows we have needs and has promised to meet them if we only ask;
"But my God shall supply all our need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
The important question is, "Are you one of God's children. Do you acknowledge Him as your Heavenly Father? Have you understood that you need to be adopted into God's heavenly kingdom through a personal, living faith in Jesus Chist?
Have you understood that Jesus took your place? He died on the cross, taking the penalty for your sins upon Himself, so that you could receive forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus!
If you have understood that Jesus died in your place and have already received His gift of eternal life, Praise the Lord!! God has promised to supply all your need and Jesus has said He will never leave you or forsake you. What blessed promises!
If you have not believed in Jesus and become a child of God, why not invite Him right now to come into your life and to be your Lord and savior?
We encourage you to refer to the LIFEQUEST "Food for Thought" topics of Salvation and Gospel which will further explain what He has done for you, how much God loves you and show you how to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
God bless you and have a great day!