Feb 16, 2010

Ding Dong

The smell of natural gas was overwhelming. I didn’t dare light a match. I might be blown to smithereens. Fortunately, no one with matches was awake. But what would happen if a spark ignited the gas? I couldn’t take any chances. I had to alert someone.

The year was 1972 and I was a paperboy for the Arizona Republic. I had a great paper route. The route started at the paper station and ended up at my own home. On a good day, it would only take about 30 minutes to deliver the papers. On Sunday, it took two trips and over an hour.

On this particular day, I had just ridden my bike to the Sachaleri’s house to place the paper on the front porch. But as I placed the paper, I smelled natural gas. It was overwhelming. You see, I was in fourth grade and the previous day, we had a demonstration at school about natural gas. We all got to smell it. And surprisingly enough, the next day I smelled this natural gas smell at the neighbor’s house… at five in the morning.

But what should I do? If I rang the doorbell and it turned to be a false alarm, I would surely lose a customer. If I did nothing and my neighbors burned up in a fire, I would feel guilty for the rest of my life.

So I hatched this plan. I finished the route, parked my bike, and went back to my bedroom. But then, I sneaked out of the house, ran to my neighbor’s house, rang the doorbell, and ran back home and got into bed. I figured that would do it. If it was natural gas, at least my neighbor would be woken up to smell it. If it wasn’t, there would be no way to pin it on me. I know, I know. I’m devilishly clever.

Well, my neighbor’s house didn’t burn down, but years later, I still felt guilty about this incident, so I told him what happened. He laughed. He said he didn’t ever remember waking up in the morning to the doorbell. Go figure.

Sometimes God places these situations in our life to see how we respond. In this case, I don’t think I did very well. But the good news is that blood of Jesus has cleansed me from all the stupid things I did as a kid. Thank goodness, too, because, well, as you can imagine, I did a lot of them.


Pastor David Hook

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