"A man with a present"
(By Bob Perks - Bob@BobPerks.com)

3-19-02 Church Within SOW Seeds Service - Story #232

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Greetings my Dearest Sisters and Brothers, and welcome again to Church Within's Story of the Week ["SOW Seeds”].

This week's SOW Seeds Story, contributed by: Bob Perks

Story of the Week
"A man with a present"
(By Bob Perks - Bob@BobPerks.com)

I could tell by the way he walked that he carried a heavy burden. With slumped shoulders rounded from the weight of the world, he headed in my direction never once lifting his head to see where he was going.

It was obvious he was going nowhere.

"Hello, my friend!" I said as he came closer.

He never responded.

"How are you today, my friend?" I asked as he stopped nearby.

Still, he did not respond.

I walked right up next to him and said, "I'll bet you'd like to see spring as much as I."

Finally lifting his head, he smiled replying, "Yes, sir."

I take pride in the fact that I can have a conversation with anyone. I am also aware that not everyone wants to speak with me.

Standing now so I faced the man, I said, "Well, we're entering the month that promises spring. Before you know it there'll be flowers blooming everywhere."

"It doesn't matter much to me," he mumbled quietly.

Of course, if he was willing to talk a little bit more, I needed to know why.

So, for the next few minutes we talked about life. It's what I'm good at. Not so much that I'm an expert, but a friend of mine recently called me "the philosopher of everyday moments."

And so I am.

Much of what he said, I've heard before. It is the stuff of life that drags a good man down.

But then he said, "I'm a man with a past."

It sounded like something from an old mystery movie and yet, I related to it. I guess I've often thought of myself as "a man with a past."

"I know the things I've done, the bad choices, the ugly side of my life. I qualify for the same title," I told him.

"But it holds me down. It makes it impossible to go on," he said.

"Then you are not a man with a past, you're a man without a future?" I asked.

"I guess you're right."

"The past doesn't hold you down. The past doesn't make it impossible for you to go on. You do."

He looked at me directly for the first time.

"I am a man without a future, too. I can say that because I'm not guaranteed one. You cannot change the past. But recognizing any wrong you may have done is a great foundation to build a future."

Nervously shuffling his feet, he lifted his head toward the sky.

"The man with the past is gone. I don't see him standing here and I can't see a man with a future. But I can see a man with a present. Not just the "now" you live in, but the present you bring into the world. The special gift that God created in you. What you do with it now will not change the past, but it will help you to leave it behind."

Placing my hand on his shoulder I said, "Today I met a man with a present."

He never said a word as he walked away.

But he walked a little taller.

The Prayer
Dear God,        
        “Now” is when I am with You. Many times I have been in the Past and the memory is Sweet, but it is not enough, memories are just that… past memories. In the Future I will be with You again, and though it may draw me forward it is potential only… the future will undoubtedly be different than I can imagine now. But “Now” I am With You… “Now” makes sense of the Past and Nourishes me for what May be in the Future “Nows.” Only “Now” is when I can Truly BE with You.

You ALL are Within the Infinitely Loving Embrace of our Universal Parent,

The Creator's Eternal Love to all of You,
Pastor Daniel

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