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The eloquence of his example

September 5, 2007

by Pam Fiecke

There was an elderly man by the name of John. He came into a community uneducated and poor. A minister directed him to an industrial steel company.

He was taught his job position by upper management. He diligently worked many long hours. By the end of the day, he was dirty from head to toe. You could only see the whites of his eyes.

He talked very little. However, he wore the most cheerful smile.

His clothes were tattered. His shoes had holes that were badly worn; they slipped up and down his heels as he walked.

John carried with him every day to work a pocket hand-sized Bible. He would often show employees a Bible verse when they were in need of encouragement.

One day, John didn’t show up for work. Employees noticed a note was put up on the bulletin board, saying he had passed away from a massive heart attack. The employees were heart-broken by the news.

John’s two sons lived at a distance. They received the news of the death of their father and came home right away to make arrangements.

There were many beautiful plants and flowers that surrounded the casket. The two sons sat together and stared at their father, who was all they had left.

Everything was a blur to them. All they could see was the life of a simple man. One son turned to view behind them. All the people who had come to show their respect to their father.

John’s supervisor, Jeff, sat with the two sons. He comforted them in their time of sorrow.

Jeff whispered to the sons, “As you can see, your father touched the hearts of many.”

The minister walked up to the pulpit and said, “You’ll never know when you’re going to be taught a lesson in life.”

The crowd of people stirred in their pews. The minister continued speaking, “This man came to this church one day. I never saw him before or knew of him. I found him in prayer. I asked him if there was something I could do for him.”

He smiled and replied, “I need a job and a black book.”

I managed to piece together what he was saying, for his English was poor. I got him a pocket hand-sized Bible and wrote 10 words on the front page of his Bible.

I walked him outside and pointed to the industrial steel building. I told him to go there and ask for top management. He was to open his Bible and show them what I wrote.

The minister said, “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. This man had no sign of thinking he was going to fail. He just wanted a job. What he did not lack was faith.”

The two sons looked at their father’s supervisor. Tears began streaming down their cheeks. John opened his Bible to the front page, and Jeff read what was written.

This is what I wrote, the minister said, “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.”

Jeff understood that John was struggling in life and gave him a job. He also trained him in. John taught others all they needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.

The minister looked at the casket, then slowly turned his head to view the people in the church.

The minister said, “This man may have been known to be uneducated and poor. Amazingly, if we search within, he set an example. He was authentic. He enveloped each and every one of you with his heart of love.

“He touched your soul beyond what education could ever teach.

“In life, people will not always remember what you said. People will not always remember to the fullest what you did. However, people will always remember how you made them feel. Look around. His simple eloquence of his example surrounds you all here today.”