Editor’s note: This column originally ran Sept. 1, 2017.
More than a half century ago, there was a woman who was heartsick. She was married to a man who was a drunk. He beat on her and cursed her often. She got pregnant, but lost her baby by miscarriage.
This woman, Doris, was so sad. Life got worse. Her husband beat her often and brought little money home because he spent it all on booze. Doris got pregnant again. She had hope, but eight months later her child was stillborn – dead.
Now she really felt hopeless. Her husband seemed to get worse all the time. Then she became pregnant again. Doris was so excited when the nurse put the little girl in her arms. She named her Barbara. Everything was so wonderful.
Ten months into Barbara’s life the little baby couldn’t eat. She got worse. Soon she couldn’t swallow. Little Barbara died, and Doris was beside herself in despair. She finally divorced her husband.
A few years later she met and married another man. He was a decent man and they were happy. Doris became pregnant again. She was so fearful that she got down on her knees and prayed.
She prayed, “God, I don’t really know who you are, but if you’ll let me have a baby boy, I make you a promise. I’ll go to church, get my life straightened out, and I’ll raise him for you. I’ll see that he becomes ... I think you call them ‘a preacher.’”
Doris kept her promise to God. The next Sunday after that baby boy was born she went to church. She heard that preacher talking about how much Jesus loved everyone, even if they were not good, moral people. She heard about Jesus dying on the cross for her sins. The preacher invited people to come to the altar and give their lives to Jesus.
Doris held her baby boy in her arms but asked the nearest woman to her, “Here, take my baby, I’ve got to go to that altar.” Doris cried and wept for over an hour telling Jesus how sorry she was and asking for forgiveness. When Doris got up from that altar she was a new person.
Doris had that little boy in church three times a week. She would sit him on her lap and sing to him, “Jesus loves me this I know.” Doris made sure her boy knew all about Jesus.
That little boy learned to love Jesus, too. He soon became interested in Jesus and gave his heart to Jesus when he was just a little guy. He learned to read from a different textbook. The Bible. When he got older, he made his own decision, not because of his mama’s dream. He declared, “I’m going to be a preacher!”
Doris sent her only son off to Bible College. She never got to see him much after that. He married a wonderful woman who wanted to be a preacher’s wife. They raised three sons who love Jesus, and their families love Jesus too.
That’s the story of a little boy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He understood what it meant when Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” – Matthew 5:6.
That boy was me, Stan Rutkowski, and I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, so to speak. Why? Because I love and follow Jesus. Because I love Jesus, life has been really good. I have few regrets in life but many blessings.
Thank you, Mom. Thank you, Jesus. You, too, could start life over like Doris did, by asking Jesus to become your Savior. Then you will have a wonderful opportunity to give your child a Christian heritage.
The Rev. Stan Rutkowski is pastor of Living Waters Church in Salida.