31 05 2015

Rusty was one of those guys from my grade school days that I’ve never forgotten; mostly from the bruises he left on me that Rock _nfinally healed up in the last few years! It was obvious from his looks and size that he was older than your typical six grader, it was even rumored that Rusty had been held back so many times he was only student that was allowed to go in the teacher’s lounge for coffee and a smoke break. All kidding aside though we all knew that you didn’t want to get caught alone by old Rusty because his two favorite pastimes were shaking kids down for money and hurting them, and not necessarily in that order. I don’t know how many times I left school as if I was going home to eat lunch (Yes, young folks, we used to be able to do that) and walk around for awhile because Rusty had helped himself to my lunch money. Like me he wasn’t very good in school and I remember occasions when I answered something wrong in class and everyone would laugh. But if Rusty did same you’d best keep quiet; laughing at him was like signing your own death warrant. So as many of you know that’s life when dealing with a card carrying member of “Bullies are Us!” Dedicating as many years as I did to working with kids, it was always a question to me on just why these rabble rousers enjoyed causing pain to others. Talking to professionals and reading much material on the subject, I must have come across dozens of conclusions as to why certain kids acted this way. One similar thread seemed to run through the majority of theories though, and that was insecurity.

As hard as it seemed to think of Rusty as insecure (as he was putting knots all over my head), the more it makes sense now that I look back to those days. That assumption of my “pal” Rusty came to roost in a place and setting I never thought I’d see him. Rusty was just one of the reasons my early days weren’t the happiest, but there was one place I did enjoy being. Come Sunday I would be with a youth group at a local church in my adopted hometown. There things were more laid back than school and I got along fine with most of the kids. But the bests thing; no thugs like Rusty to strike terror to the heart; at least that’s what I thought, or hoped, or prayed!

I was sitting in a row talking to a friend and didn’t pay attention to who had just sat next to me. That is until “BAM!” right in the arm. It wasn’t as devastating a blow as to the sight of who delivered; there smiling at me dressed in an ill fitted suit was Rusty. “Hey Miller, I didn’t know you went to church here, this friend of my mom’s brought me and I’ll be here every Sunday.” My mouth got the words out, “That’s cool Rusty.” But my heart was yelling “My God, why have you forsaken me!!” I considered my options, like running out to the building screaming at the top of my lungs. No, I feared he would just catch me and if I stayed put, at least there would be witnesses to his deeds. Then the thought occurred, lure him upstairs, hit him in the head with a chair and throw his carcass out the window! Nope, that wouldn’t work either; he was too big for me to pick up. The only option left was to find a way to make the best of a bad situation. Being new there were a lot of things Rusty didn’t know, so I told him a lot about the youth group, what we were studying, where to find answers in our workbooks and so forth. Things actually went pretty well until I realized something one day; I was the only person talking to Rusty, no one else would bother to even say hi. He came several Sundays in row, but then quit. I asked him at school why he wasn’t coming anymore. “What for, those snobs don’t want me there.” I tried to convince him that wasn’t true, but he wouldn’t hear it so I thought I’ll just say something to some of the guys at church and prove him wrong. I’m not sue I can describe the feeling I had when I found he wasn’t wrong. Several made it clear they were glad he quit coming, one even told me, “We don’t need ones like him around here.” We don’t need ones like him around here; those words rang in my ears for some time. Well if the likes of Rusty weren’t welcome, then who was? Didn’t Jesus say something to the effect that He came to earth for the sick and not the healthy, in other words the ones who need Him most (Mark 2:17), like Rusty!

The grand old preacher Billy Graham answers it this way; “We are the Bibles the world is reading; We are the creeds the world is needing; We are the sermons the world is heeding.” And “God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.”

Now I’m not trying to throw off on my old Sunday School group because they didn’t like Rusty, remember I already admitted I didn’t want him there when he first showed. But I’m left to wonder how many chances do we who call ourselves Believers, miss out on telling and showing others about the One we call Lord because of a perception or mind-set. Possibly what’s missed is the fact that none of us are really any better than Rusty in God’s eyes; “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I can’t say my little contribution to Rusty when he came to church did anything or not, but I can tell you this; he never laid a hand on me again after that. Just a thought. After grade school Rusty and I never really saw each other again, but I’ve thought about him often; what happened to him, and did he ever seek Christ again. Only God knows.

But over the course of “Traveling the Rock Road,” I’ve had numerous Rustys cross my path. The easy thing would be to keep walking and ignore them in hopes they’d go away. But there’s this nagging voice in the back of my mind that calls out, “You know he was good enough for Jesus to shed His blood on the cross, just like he did for you. If he’s good enough for Jesus, isn’t he good enough for a little of your time?”

Just a thought Friends and Family,

See Ya Next Time!!




2 responses

1 06 2015
Jeff Bonnell

good lesson

1 06 2015

Very True Brother-Man. Very True.
And Thanks!!

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