Sunday, May 29, 2011

Anointed People: "The Minister is Upstairs" (3 of 5)

It's been a while since I have posted on this blog, but I thought I would share this one. I'm not even if this is a true story or not, and I could not find it anywhere on the internet, so if you know the story and it is a little embellished, my apologies.

At one time there was this widowed Christian minister who had been pastoring different country churches for over 40 years. He had had a very fruitful ministry and many people had become Christians because of him and many people were better people because of his leadership. He was now getting older, and sometimes his back would hurt him and he would have various aches and pains.

Even though he was nearing retirement, he felt led to accept one more pastorate before he retired. So he put his resume out all over the state, and the only church that responded was a smaller church of about twenty people in an inner city. He went to candidate for them, they put it to a vote, and he was called to the church, and to the surprise of many of his friends and family, he accepted the call.

He packed up his belongings and fit everything he could carry into his tiny car, and he drove out to the large city to begin his pastorate in this large city. He preached his first sermon at his new church, and many people responded for healing and to rededicate their lives.

After church, he began apartment hunting in order to find a place to live (the church was too small for a parsonage). He encountered a lot of resistance, but a couple of days later he found an apartment. Unfortunately, the only one that he could find was a walk-up directly above a bar. To make matters worse, there was no outside entrance; he would have to go through the bar to get to the stairs and to his apartment.

He told the owner of the bar, who was also his landlord, of his plight. The landlord agreed that he would remind the bar patrons to not get too loud by putting a sign on the wall that said "The Minister is upstairs", which he did that same day.

Time went by, and the church grew to about 30 members. The minister also became very well-known at the bar, and sometimes he would stop before going to his apartment and would get a Pepsi (non-alcoholic of course) and sit and listen to the jukebox before going upstairs. As time went by people at the bar got to know the minister and of his kindness. Even though it was a normal bar, the minister became very well-respected. And always, the sign "The minister is upstairs" would be tacked to the wall once he went upstairs for the night.

A couple of times, the minister would even volunteer to take people home for the night who had had too much to drink. At times, people would decide to stop coming to the bar and would join his church instead. The landlord, who had become good friends with the minister, (and even swapped war stories with him a time or two as they had both been in the service in their younger days) would joke with him that he was "taking away my business!"

One cold November month no one from the church or from the bar had heard from the minister for a couple of days. After going upstairs to investigate, they found that the minister had died in his sleep a few days prior to that.

At the funeral there was a standing-room only crowd of the many people that the minister had touched over the years, including the landlord and some of the other people from the bar.

After going back to the bar to get ready for the crowd, the landlord noticed the sign "The minister is upstairs" hanging in its normal place. He paused from wiping down the counter top to remove the sign, but he didn't have the heart to do it.

The sign "The minister is upstairs" continued to hang in the bar for well over the next twenty years, and took on a new meaning as, of course, the minister was still, in a much better and glorious way, "Upstairs."

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