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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

ONLINE CHURCH BULLETIN

A Parable Revisited

New York City during Christmas was always a little crazy. Bobby knew that, but he couldn't help the fact that he had this new, state-of-the-art mountain bike with no place to ride but Central Park. He'd ridden in the park before but never when it was this crowded. With a sprinkling of new snow on the ground and all the commotion of Christmas shoppers running back and forth with bags and boxes, the park was a particularly difficult place to test his bike.

Nevertheless, Bobby decided that today was the day! Passing the Christmas crowd on the sidewalk was difficult, but his new bike handled like a charm. 'This thing is great!" Bobby thought to himself, "and it should be for the amount of money it cost me!" Bobby was shaken from his thoughts when he realized that the crowd had disappeared and he was out in the open end of the park. "Now it's time to see what this baby will really do," he thought. Suddenly, Bobby realized that he was completely out of control! Now he understood why there weren't any people at this end of the park – the sidewalks had frozen over during the night, and no one had cleaned them off this morning. CRASH!

When Bobby woke up, he realized that there were some major problems that he was about to face. The first was trying to figure out how he could stand up since it was obvious to him that his left leg was broken badly as well as his left arm. As he sat there, he realized that the blood on his shirt had to be coming from somewhere, so he began to feel around and see what else was busted.. When he pulled his bloody hand away from his forehead, he quickly understood where the cut was and that it must BE a big one. Now, for the next question - where was his bike? And his wallet? "Great! Not only am I busted up," he thought, "but now some kind New Yorker has had the generosity to relieve me of my bike and wallet! It's a good thing that I didn't make that Visa payment this month! Now, how will I get out of this mess?"

Bobby lay there for what seemed an eternity. Finally, as the ice began to melt on the sidewalk, a few brave souls began to wander onto the treacherous end of Central Park. The first person that passed by looked friendly enough. With a golden cross around her neck and a WWJD sweatshirt tied around her waist, Bobby thought surely she would help. But sadly this young woman decided that her jogging was much more important than helping her fellow man, so she turned up the volume on her Amy Grant Christmas CD and passed Bobby on the far side.

The minutes passed, and Bobby's mind began to blur with the loss of blood, the cold weather, and the shock from the broken bones. The next person that he remembered seeing was the bell ringer dressed in a Santa suit. This. guy looked like he was in a hurry! With his bell in one hand and his collection pot in the other, he seemed to be running late for his post. As he passed, this Santa's helper had the nerve to wish Bobby a Merry Christmas! "Merry Christmas to you too, buddy," Bobby thought to himself along with several other things he wanted to say.

The next time Bobby woke out of unconsciousness, he seemed to be much warmer and much more comfortable. He realized that he was in a recovery room at the hospital. Then he noticed the casts on his leg and arm. "Man, that feels better," Bobby said as he wiggled his fingers and toes just to make sure everything was still working. Just then a nurse walked in the door to check on Bobby. "Oh, good! You're awake," the nurse said with a smile. "You sure are lucky that Max brought you in when he did, or you might not have seen the New Year! I've never seen anybody bleed like you did!"

Max? Who was he? After a day or so in the hospital, Bobby was ready to go home. But he still couldn't figure out who this Max guy was. He did know that when he saw him there was going to be a lot of hugs exchanged. When the wheelchair came to pick him up, a bizarre looking man was pushing it. He looked like a bum! He smelled like a bum! The nurse that followed him in the door made the introductions. "Max, this is Bobby. Bobby – Max." Bobby had never hugged a guy that looked (and smelled) like Max before, but this Christmas he learned that appearance isn't everything! God uses what we call useless! Jesus called us to love our neighbor's as ourselves! Don't pass by a blessing waiting to happen!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward