“Me? A Christian? Hah!” Walt shook his fist. “Don’t talk to me about God. I’m an atheist, and proud of it!” With that, he walked away, cursing. No one would talk to him about God—he made sure of that!
He was his own boss and no one dared tell him what he should do. Sometimes he worked and sometimes he didn’t. When he needed some money, he worked in a sawmill. His job was to trim lumber at the finish saw. He liked working with the loud machinery and rough men, and he was as rough as any of them.
One day as he worked he planned what he was going to do that evening with a paycheck in hand—the first one in weeks. He was going to “have some fun at the tavern.” He thought that was the way to have a good time—the way to be happy. But that day, as he was working at his machine, a Voice spoke to him. The Voice said, “The only true happiness is in the Lord.” Walt turned to see who would dare say such a thing to him. To his amazement, there was no one there! The other men were all around the building, working at other saws and machines. The saws were screaming so loudly that he could have heard no one unless they had yelled right into his ear. Then Walt realized that he had heard the Voice of God. He turned off his saw and walked to where one of his friends was working. “Bill,” he shouted, “I’ve just had a visit from the Lord.” His friend looked at him, amazed that Walt would say anything about God.
After work that night, Walt went home instead of going out to get drunk. When he told his parents about his visit from God, his mother thought he had lost his mind. But his father said, “Something must have happened—it’s payday, and Walt’s sober.” Something had happened!
The next Sunday Walt went to church. He hadn’t cried since he was a young boy, but that day tears ran down his cheeks as he heard people say that Jesus loves everyone—even people who are mean and make trouble for others. He was sorry for his sins, and asked God to forgive him. God did forgive him and changed his life. He didn’t want to drink and fight anymore. He began to work at a steady job. He even gave back things that he had taken from others.
Walt remained a Christian the rest of his life. He spent a lot of time telling people what God had done for him. He was very thankful that God’s call was for everyone—even someone who didn’t believe that God was real.
* * * * *
What a noisy place! The parts rolled off the production line at a terrific rate. Chick was the foreman, and he saw to it that the line kept moving. The more they produced, the more he was paid. His helpers were not always as fast as he wanted them to be, and when things slowed down he yelled, and cursed, and threw things around. His co-workers were afraid of him or mad at him most of the time. All except a young man named Ben. No matter how much Chick yelled at him, no matter what he did, Ben was always the same. If he didn’t smile, at least he was quiet, and he didn’t yell back like the others. What was there about Ben that was different?
Chick had grown up learning to fight. He had injured one man’s face so badly that he was scarred for life. Chick couldn’t understand anyone who wouldn’t fight back. He’d been told that Christians were like that, but he’d never before met anyone who really could stick to it. He began to watch Ben closely. One day he stopped work. Turning to the young man, he said, “What church do you belong to, anyway?”
Ben was plainly surprised, but he said, “I don’t belong to any church. I’m just a Christian.” Chick didn’t know what to think of an answer like that. For days after that he asked many questions. He discovered that Ben knew many people who, just as he had done, had given their hearts to Christ Jesus. They were able to live without sin in their lives through the power that Jesus gave them.
Soon after that, Chick went to church with Ben. He learned that Jesus had died on the Cross so that all sinners could be saved. That included Chick! Then he knew that the reason people didn’t “join” that church was because the only way you could get to be a part of it was to be born again as the Bible says. The very first time he was in church he prayed and asked God to forgive him. He was completely changed. After that he never lost his temper or used bad language. He even went to the man whose face he had scarred and asked forgiveness. For the rest of his life, wherever he went, he told people how Jesus had changed him.