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Monday, July 11, 2011

Are You Shaved?

During that summer of playing on swings in Mrs. Gravendyk’s back yard, my sister and I met a strange man. Strange to US, anyways. We would bound up those big steps and run down the walk and up the slate steps of the big, wrap-around porch. And there he was. Not just once or twice ---- but every single time we arrived, he was coming out of the big double doors with the oval, glass window panes. Maybe he had breakfast there, or was just passing time, I don’t know, but it seemed that we just couldn’t avoid him. We soon found out that he was waiting for the bus which would take him into New York City. Every single time, he told us the same story: How God had called him to tell the Jewish people of New York City about Jesus and that He was their Messiah, along with a whole lot of other “blah-blah-blah” that made no sense to a 9 and a 7 year old. Then he would show us the tracts that overflowed out of his pockets and explained how he gave them out. We would stand there politely, looking at our feet, saying “uh-huh”, wishing we were a million miles away . . . Because we knew what was coming!!! He would always end his speech with a big, booming, “ARE YOU SHAVED?????” (yes, it sounded like “shaved” but we knew he meant “saved) with piercing eyes, pointy fingers, wrinkled forehead, etc.

I think we would mutter “yes” or something, but I KNOW mine was never very convincing to him. It couldn’t have been. I knew I wasn’t good enough, clean enough, important enough for God to save me. But he would leave, catch his bus, and we were free to play on the swing. All I wanted was to get inside that house and look at the mural on the wall --- the cross that led to the city of gold and the angels that protected those crossing over.

I wish I had a recording of that man’s voice. To this day, if I were to ask my sister, “ARE YOU SHAVED????” in that . . . . Voice . . . . She would know beyond the shadow of a doubt who I was talking about. We never forgot him. I wonder why???!!!!! He was probably the first who personally confronted me about my soul. Maybe not the best presentation for a 9 year old to hear, but convicting and soul-piercing, nonetheless. Now that I think of it, up until this point, not one person had ever cared to ask me. Parents, family, Sunday School teachers, Christian School teachers, Youth leaders, Pastor, etc. NO ONE ever once asked me personally if I knew Jesus as my Savior. Yes, I knew the way of salvation as it was explained many times in group settings. And yes, later I DID make that decision to accept Him.

During the past few days, I’ve thought a lot about this odd man and the lasting impressions and memories he had on my life. No matter when I hear of a ministry or of anyone who shares their faith with a Jewish person, I think of him. No matter when I’m asked if I’m a Christian or if I’m saved, I hear his booming voice asking that embarrassed, uncomfortable little girl the same question. No matter when I find myself in the position of presenting the way of salvation, I DEFINITELY think of him, and have better ways of presenting God’s gift of salvation than he did. But. . . . . . It still all boiled down to. . . .

“ARE YOU SHAVED????”

11 comments:

Patty Sumner said...

Cora, this is my favorite of all your stories that you have shared. I could just picture this scene in my head...."Are you shaved"? lol... So many times we try to make the presentation of the gospel so complicated. I believe this is what stops many from sharing the gospel. I love this one....keep on sharing. Blessings!

Maryann said...

Love this story and can almost picture this man from your description.

Denise said...

Oh I love that story.... Imprinted in your spirit man was the love of God in a booming voice spoken by a missionary of God.. What a beautiful memory and how priceless with the day be when you meet him again.. I am amazed at the gifts that the Father gives us but it takes us years to understand.. How sweet the memory that once scared you.....and reminds you that being shaved is most important thing in our lives.... Hugs

Primitives By The Light of The Moon said...

We just never know in life what impression we will leave on someone or what kind of impact we might make in someone's life. Sounds like he sure made a lasting memory :)

Vicky said...

You make me feel through your description as though I am standing right next to you! You are an apt story teller and I can see why this man would have been so impressionable to you!

Craig said...

funny!! and is far as I know, as strange as it might sound to some people – I have only been shaved just the once. I was told I would never have to be shaved again. And strangely enough, it's been true – for the last 26 years of my life I have not needed to be shaved. Incredible when you think of it. No?

God bless you Cora.

Lea said...

I'm shaved!
Yes Cora, please oh please keep sharing....
I HOPE I NEVER EVER FORGET THIS STORY.

Denise said...

YOU bless me!

Paula said...

This is a wonderful story, Cora! And I LOVED the title... I can almost hear the old man saying that! Very precious memory!

Jennifer said...

I love this story - and the impact he had on your faith, Cora!

I wanted to thank you for sharing your creative story with me. Before I stayed home with my kids, I worked in the wholesale gift industry. I know what it means to have an order from Cracker Barrel. Wow! I am letting God decide how this moves forward. It's a relief in many ways to know I just have to show up, listen and work.

Your encouragement means so much to me, friend :)

Trina said...

Cora, I loved this and could see it all! My internet is on for a few so let me throw this out there before it poofs out again.