A Plea from Death's Door
by Sheldon Bass
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The ten year old boy’s brown eyes were the most expressive I’ve ever seen. Something, reached out from those big orbs, framed with long black lashes, to pleadingly invite me to know him—to understand. He was dying, and he knew it. Little Jacob wanted to leave something of himself to the world. It was a burning message to all humanity.
Perhaps it was convenience which caused the orphaned boy to select me as the one to broadcast what he felt everyone should know. Time was short, and I was there. He was losing the war against blood cancer, leukemia. I was there to minister comfort to Jacob, and share Jesus with him, but he ended up portraying God\'s word to me.
The head of his hospital bed was raised nearly all the way up, as he urgently stretched delicate fingers toward the bedside table, indicating the drawer. Responding, I tugged it open to find a pad of paper on which Jacob had written down the words of wisdom his swollen heart had acquired over the decade of his short existence.
It was only one page, yet the contents could have been penned by wise King Solomon. His summary statement is what gripped my heart the tightest.
“The most important thing in life, is to love everybody.”
Through those passionate eyes, humanity and its condition had been evaluated. Listed, was his perspective of everything that was wrong with the world. Violence, stealing and bullying topped the lengthy column on the left, labelled: “Diseases”. The opposing column to the right bore the heading: “The Answer,” and was Jacob’s corresponding cure for each blight of society. That last column read the same all the way down the page.
Here was a boy wise beyond his years, offering a message taught by Jesus. Our Savior’s summary statement reads much the same as Jacob’s.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: \'Love your neighbor as yourself.\' There is no commandment greater than these.\" (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)
When I glanced up from perusing what Jacob had written, he was intently studying my face, just hoping I was the man he’d assessed me to be. He made his last request as if that paper contained the very essence of life itself.
“Would you read that to all the people in church Sunday? And see if you can put in the newspapers?”
What the boy was asking me was closely akin to what the Lord had already called me to do when I became a minister of the gospel. At the heart of the good news of Christ is the message of God’s love, displayed so profoundly at Calvary. One of the last things Jesus did before He died and rose again, was to wash His disciple’s feet. He then said that we should go and do likewise, in loving service to one another.
“Yes Jacob, I promise I’ll spread this message to everyone who will listen.”
Jacob had been fighting the powerful medication to stay awake, and to accomplish his mission. A big smile remained on that young face as his heavy eyelids finally closed and sleep overtook him. The attending nurse then lowered the top of his bed, and shooed me out of the room.
Two hours later, I was in the hospital cafeteria purchasing coffee. A thirty year-old wisp of a woman from some social agency, whom the state had assigned to Jacob for his final days, scurried into the dining room. She slowed to a crawl when she found me, her face already delivering the news she bore. “Jacob has left us.”
We could easily scoff at this inexperienced youngster’s naiveté for believing all that ails the world can be changed by such a simple concept. Yet, in essence Jacob is correct. That well-known passage of scripture, John 3:16, declares God’s love for the world to be His motivation for sacrificing His only begotten Son, to cover all of mankind’s imperfection’s.
Accordingly, when that same love becomes the motivating force behind all that we do and say, all the ugliness in the world, which that love touches, is transformed to beauty.
Yes Jacob, we hear you.
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Reader Count & Comments
This is a very beautiful story. It speaks to my heart that we need to do more than we have done to get God's Word out to the ill and the hurting.
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