Dick approached Rodney, who was as stranger, as he stood on his front porch.
“Nice day isn’t it?” Dick said.
“What do you want?” Rodney scowled.
“I just stopped by to share an encouraging thought from the Bible,” Dick said.
“You know what’s wrong with this world?” Rodney said.
“What?” Dick said.
“There’s too many guys like you walking around in suits and ties,” Rodney said.
“I’m afraid I don’t understand your point,” Dick said. “Could you explain further.”
“People don’t know how to work,” Rodney said. “They don’t know what it means to work a good day. Guys like you ought to spend time digging ditches, instead ya come around here all dressed-up like ya just walked out of J. C. Penny catalogue. Ya don’t have any idea what it means to work. You Bible-thumpin preachers are all alike.”
“What do you mean we’re all alike?” Dick said.
“You’re too busy takin’ money from people so you can live in a big fancy house, drive a nice new car, and wear…”
Dick smiled and interrupted, “J. C. Penny suits, right?”
“Ya know what I’m talkin’ about then, don’t ya?” Rodney said.
“Yeah,” Dick said. “I know exactly what you’re talking about.”
“Than take your Bible, your religion, your J. C. Penny suit, get in your fancy car, and go home to your fancy house,” Rodney said standing firmly on in his porch and flinging his hand.
“Before I leave,” Dick said. “There is one thing I want to share with you. It is something that the Apostle Paul believed and lived. It is in Acts chapter 20.” He thumbed to that passage. “I have coveted no man’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands have attended to the needs of me and of those with me.”
“That’s what I’m talkin’ about,” Rodney said.
Dick held out his hands. “You might notice my hands are a little scraped-up. And if you notice, sometimes I get in hurry and don’t get some of the grit and grime from beneath my finger nails. It’s embarrassing sometimes, but I’m proud to show them to you, because you will appreciate them.”
“What did you do work in you garden last night?” Rodney said.
“I’m a machinists,” Dick said. “I just got done working five twelve hour days. My hands are in grease, oil, and cutting fluids all day long. I lift nearly two tons of steel every day and on these twelve-hour days half again that much. The temperature in the shop is always around a hundred. When my day is done all I want to do is take a shower and lay down.”
“Than what on earth are you doing this for?” Rodney said. “You should be resting.”
“I do that to support my family and so I can come out here free of charge and share an encouraging scripture from the Bible.”
“Well,” Rodney said. “You got me there, you earned the right. So whatcha got?”
“Have you ever lost somebody close to you in death?”
Rodney hesitated and pursed his lips.
“Is it too hard to mention?” Dick said.
“No, no,” Rodney said. “It was my Daddy. We was close.”
“I know a little how you feel,” Dick said. “Just as I was becoming a man my Dad died. I wished we could have gotten to know each other better. Here is something I think about. It’s just a couple of pages over in the book of Acts.” Dick thumbed a couple more pages. “It’s at Acts 26:15,” Dick read, “and I have hope toward God, which hope these men themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”
“What does the mean?” Rodney said.
“There is an assurance of a resurrection of all people from the dead,” Dick said.
“I had a preacher tell me if Daddy wasn’t saved, which he wasn’t, he’d never see heaven,” Rodney said.
“Clearly,” Dick said. “What we just read from the Bible doesn’t support that does it?”
“No,” Rodney said.
Dick reached in his pockets for a pen and a piece of a note pad. “I’m writing that scripture down so you can read it later in your own Bible and here’s a couple more.” Dick handed him the note.
Rodney smiled and tucked the note in his shirt pocket. “I guess I’ll have to go get a Bible now. I don’t have one.”
“That’s okay,” Dick said. “I’ll go get one and bring it back to you.”
“How much will that run me?” Rodney said.
“It’s free,” Dick said.
“It’s free!” Rodney said.
“Yeah,” Dick said. “It’s free.”
Dick shook Rodney’s hand and walked away.
Just as Dick got his car Rodney yelled, “Hey, Preacher.”
“That was nice, real nice.”
“Thanks, I’ll be back.”
“Hey,” Rodney said. “I got ta give ya somethin‘ for the Bible.”
“If you can afford something that’s okay.” Dick smiled. “Remember, I worked a little extra this week.”