A minister, passing through his church in the middle of the day, decided to pause by the altar and see who had come to pray.
Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle, the minister frowned as he saw the man hadn’t shaved in a while.
His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed, the man knelt, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.
In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap, each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunch pail in his lap.
Well, the minister’s suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear, he decided to stop the man and ask, “What are you doing here?”
The old man said he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour. Lunchtime was his prayer time, for finding strength and power. “I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away; as I kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kinda what I say:
“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN. DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS JIM, CHECKING IN TODAY.”
The minister feeling foolish, told Jim, that was fine; he was welcome to come and pray just anytime.
Time to go, Jim smiled, said “Thanks” and hurried to the door.
The minister knelt at the altar, he’d never done it before. His cold heart melted and as he warmed with love, he spoke to Jesus. Then as his tears flowed, in his heart he repeated old Jim’s prayer:
“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I’VE BEEN SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN. I DON’T KNOW MUCH OF HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERYDAY. SO, JESUS, THIS IS ME CHECKING IN TODAY.”
Past noon one day, the minister noticed that old Jim hadn’t come. As more days passed without Jim, he began to worry some. At the factory, he asked about him, learning he was ill.
The hospital staff were worried, but he’d given them a thrill. The week that Jim was with them, changes abounded in the ward. His smiles, a joy contagious, changed people were his reward.
The head nurse couldn’t understand why Jim was so glad when no flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had!
The minister stayed by his bed, he voiced the nurse’s concern: No friends came to show they cared!
Looking surprised, old Jim spoke up and with a winsome smile replied, “the nurse is wrong, she couldn’t know, that in here all the while every day at noon He was here, a dear friend of mine, you see, He sits right down, takes my hand, leans over and says to me:
“I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, JIM, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN SINCE WE FOUND THIS FRIENDSHIP, AND I TOOK AWAY YOUR SIN. ALWAYS LOVE TO HEAR YOU PRAY, I THINK ABOUT YOU EACH DAY, AND SO JIM, THIS IS JESUS CHECKING IN TODAY.”
Friends welcome and are welcoming. Jesus is always happy to welcome and visit us, at any time and all time.
Giving time freely is the sign of a sincere and lasting friend.