This is a tale of two men, one a toothless sludge remover, the other a jack of all trades.
Both men shared the counter of a neighborhood diner. The place didn’t matter. The scene plays out everywhere. The robust coffee, home cooking and cheap prices drew them in daily. Maybe the pretty, single blond restauranteur played a part, too. Men appreciate a pretty face, after all.
Meet Frank: a squirrelly looking guy in his 40’s, nondescript hair, with a wiry build from the carpentry and varied manual labor he performed. Frank’s beady eyes creeped me out at first, but after serving him coffee morning after morning, I realized he was harmless. He wasn’t the sort of man I was used to being around. He was polite, and kept to himself as he sipped his coffee. He glanced over his shoulder every once in awhile, seemed to dislike his back to the door. Maybe Frank had a shady past?
Hank the sludge man was his polar opposite. His small business removed flowable sludge and grease material using a Pumper Truck with a huge hauling capacity. He and his crew started their days early with a hearty breakfast, courtesy of the blond and her posse.
Toothless Hank, however, was a pervert in blue coveralls. The kind of man who thought lewd remarks and gestures to a teenage waitress were funny. A guy who didn’t understand boundaries, or didn’t care to honor them because his view of women was skewed. He left generous tips thinking they excused his behavior. They didn’t, of course. They couldn’t.
Back to that single blond. She was divorced, actually and raising two girls. Her older children had grown to leave the nest for Vietnam or marry and raise families of their own. So when she needed repairs on her commercial building or home, she asked Frank the carpenter/plumber/handyman. She trusted Frank. She didn’t trust Hank.
My takeaway from this story is that God provides our all of needs (Phillippians 4:19).* Her handyman walked through the door of her business. Frank remodeled a room of her house, transforming a tiny bedroom and sunporch into a large den the mom and her daughters used daily for snuggling on the couch.
God uses everything from our past to teach us life lessons. We can choose to apply what we have learned or let it slide. Those girls grew up to be women who recognize that true love begins in their Kinsman Redeemer and then extends to husbands, children and society. They began learning discernment through these early experiences, although they didn’t know it then. The teenager learned to value modesty, appreciate godly men and understand the different kind of people in the world. We are “children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phillipians 2:15).
How desperately our world needs the transforming power of the gospel!
Don’t forget where you came from – but never lose sight of where you are going (Isaiah 43:18 NIV).**
*Phillippians 4:19: And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. ** Isaiah 43:18: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”