Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Coal Basket

As I read my Grandpa's obituary today, I considered the two contrasting professions that characterized much of his life...coal miner and pastor. Soon thereafter (and not coincidentally, to be sure) I ran across this message. Though he didn't write this, he certainly could have. He always read (and encouraged us to read) God's Word every day. I'm so grateful for his legacy of faith.

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The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm with his young grandson. Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible.

His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house.

The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.”

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old coal basket, it was clean.

“Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.” That is the work of God in our lives. To change us from the inside out and to slowly transform us into the image of His son.

Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day, you will never regret you did.


Laurie Ann said...

Oh Tracy! This is priceless! I love it!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

What a wonderful Godly man your Papaw was Tracy. I am sure he must have touched the hearts and lives of so many people.
I love the story of the basket, and GOD CLEANING US FROM THEE INSIDE OUT.
and thank you for encouraging people to read God's word. Like your Grampa, ... you too, are sharing the love of God.

Michele Williams said...

What a wonderful story! Can I use it sometime? Do you have an author for this story? Your grandfather was a very godly and special man. Blessings to you...

Tricia said...

That is a wonderful story! I am thankful for the cleansing power of God's Word, it has truly done a work on me!


Kristi said...

You have quite a legacy, my friend. I'm praying for you today.

Alexis said...

Tracy, I still can't get over the fact that you lost your Grandpa the same day I did. Wow... what a comfort YOUR story has been to me in my own grief. Thanks for sharing about the wonderful legacy of faith that was handed down to you. What a blessing!

LisaShaw said...

Thank you for sharing this special message.

Warm blessings to you.

Becky said...

Oh, I just loved this, Tracy. It's one of those "in stereo" messages from the Lord to me, as just last night in our Bible Study we were discussing how the Lord works from the inside out.

Thanks so much for sharing. I love that it reminds you so much of your dear grandpa, too.

Cheryl said...

That is a great reminder.

Thanks for sharing!


hip chick said...

Oh wow! What a great story and example!

Grand Occasions said...

One of the best analogies I've ever heard and so very practical and true. I enjoy your blog, please stop by and visit me sometime. I'd love to get to know you.
~Elizabeth at Grand Occasions