A few years ago at Christmas time, my family and I had the opportunity of meeting a man named Robert. The lines and creases on his face made him look older than 62. His body was frail and bent. He had a gray beard and soft brown eyes. Robert had been diagnosed with a persistent lung disease that left him struggling to breathe. Although physically, he had some real challenges, there was something endearing in his smile and a sparkle in his eyes. We could sense a kindness in his spirit and goodness in his heart.
Robert lived in a run down boarding house down town. A cold and tiny room on the first floor was what he called home. Robert cried as he told us about his life. As a young man, he had worked in a bakery. He loved baking and had a talent for it. In time, he met and married a pretty girl and they started a family. As a mortgage and children came along, financial pressures started to mount. A baker’s wages were not enough to pay the bills. So Robert gave up the profession he loved and began driving semi trucks across the country. He hated the long absences from home but the money was better and the bills got paid.
One day at a truck stop, a man approached Robert and offered him a substantial amount of money if he would deliver a package for him. It was easy money, so Robert agreed. A cycle began that would eventually take everything good in Robert’s life. Robert told us sadly, “I never asked what was in those packages, I never opened one of those packages, but I knew in my heart what they were.”
A few years later, Robert was arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison for drug smuggling. Robert lost his family, his home and everything else dear to him. He spent decades in prison paying for choices that he deeply regretted. He tried to make the best of his life and by the time he was released from prison, he was humble and optimistic. He was eagerly looking for work in a bakery. However, the day before we met Robert, he was given some devastating news. His lungs were deteriorating and he only had a few months to live.
We were able to help Robert get a cell phone and get in contact with his family. He looked forward to our visits and would ask us about Heaven and God’s plan for His children. We explained that Jesus performed many miracles throughout his life. He healed. He forgave. He loved. He died so that all of us might be able to return to live with God again. It is through Him that we can be saved, changed, cleansed, forgiven, loved, comforted, and healed. Robert’s eyes welled up with tears as he knew that although he had made mistakes, through Jesus Christ, everything could be okay again.
As months passed, we continued to visit with Robert and teach him about Jesus. One day Robert became very sick and after a couple of days in the hospital, he passed away. The nurse called to tell us because Robert had listed us as family.
We learned so much through his wisdom and experiences. We grew to love Robert. Our friendship with Robert touched our lives for good. We felt like we were the ones who benefited most.
Although he never fully understood everything about the gospel, he knew who Jesus was and the power He has. He knew that He is our Savior, Redeemer, Brother and Friend. Robert is a soul who found peace, happiness, and comfort through Jesus Christ. He found the greatest gift anyone could ever receive.
This is such a wonderful time of year. It is a reminder that when we love other people and serve them, we are really serving God. For He has said,
“In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25;40.
Jesus Christ was our perfect example.