ON THE FRONTLINES
What does tree trimming have to do with the Kingdom?
It was the first week in April. I usually do most of the yard work myself. In addition to conserving money, I like it and it is good exercise. But as I have gotten older, ladders that I didn’t use to think about now cause me to hesitate. Trees that I used to prune (you can take a guy off the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the guy) now appear bigger and more hazardous. Hobbling in a cast with crutches from the recent motorcycle accident gave additional meaning so I succumbed to a professional trimmer. Wanting the best price I got two estimates.
The first estimate came from a well-known arborist and was reasonable. I learned he is a Christian and attends a Pentecostal Church. He explained how the Lord had blessed his business.
The second operation hadn’t been in business as long. The owner, Jon, showed up on time and gave me a competitive bid. While in the back yard I also asked him about his spiritual walk. He said he went outside and meditated in the morning and prayed to god. “But what about your standing with Jesus?” I asked. He said he didn’t know Jesus. He just prayed to god and he didn’t go to church. Listening to the Spirit, I continued by asking, “Would like to pray and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior?” Jon rapidly changed the subject and we moved on with our discussion about the trees. Then, as we walked to the side gate, the Spirit urged me again. I asked, “Jon, would you like to pray and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior now?” He said, “Yes!” He acknowledged and repented of his sin, and prayed and invited Jesus into his heart to make him the man Jesus wanted him to be. The real pruner that day by the garden gate was The Gardner Who deals with a tangled lives and overgrown egos, the One and Only Living God. Aside: Jon did a wonderful job for us.
What does a motorcycle accident have to do with the Kingdom?
It was Thursday of Holy Week. While riding my motorcycle near Tucson with a Christian brother, I had to lay the bike down. “Coincidentally” it was two blocks from the Harley Davidson Dealership AND two blocks from the Marana Police substation AND an off-duty trauma nurse and her husband were pulling out of a nearby business AND an off-duty policeman just ‘happened’ to have a neck brace in his car. Within minutes I was off to the hospital in an ambulance praying for discernment the whole time. I had dislocated my right ankle; the U of A Trauma Center put me under and reduced the dislocation of the ankle. Still groggy from the drug, I was placed in the hall with other injured people. I quickly asked the ladies next to me if they knew Jesus. Obviously, they did have a familiarity with the names as the words Jesus Christ and God were used frequently . . . in a very wrong sense. I overheard one of them say I must be drunk the way I was talking. Later with my ankle was in a cast, Jason and Becky picked me up and we drove back to Phoenix.
A week later a brother volunteered to drive me to Tucson to pick up medical records, the police report and to stop by the Harley Dealer to look over the damage to the motorcycle. It faired far better than I did with just some cosmetic paint and chrome damage. I spoke with the service manager and he told me they would repair the bike, my insurance had already authorized them to proceed. It would take about six weeks. I asked him if he knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He asserted, “No and I’m good.” End of that conversation. I told him to keep me informed via email and phone regarding the repairs and I hobbled out.
Fast forward eight weeks. Praise God for rapid healing as I am now in a full weight bearing walking boot for only another month. The motorcycle is repaired and I have gotten to know the serve manager. So Becky and I drove to Tucson to pick up the motorcycle. The service manager is waiting for me. The motorcycle looks great and I can’t wait to get back on it. As the service manager helps me load items into the back of the car that Becky is driving back to Phoenix while I ride, the Spirit speaks clearly. In obedience I ask the service manager again, “Would you like to make Jesus your Lord and Savior.” He said; “You asked me about a couple of months ago.” When he said that, I knew the Spirit had been placing the question on his mind. He said, “Yes,” and we prayed.
I said, “I think my accident was all about your eternal destiny.”