A little gentleman



While in South Africa we held a revival among the white people in Somerset West, a beautiful modern town of wealthy Europeans.

Our stopping place was the home of Mr. and Mrs. David Anderson, who did their best to make our stay pleasant, but we soon discovered that they were sad. Their only little son, David, nine years of age, had gone to Heaven but one month before. He had been sent them by the Lord, they said, and his life was a series of living sermons. Everybody loved him, and he was such an unusual example of true piety that a number of his friends, including his school teacher, wrote about him, that I might tell you his story.

When very young he gave himself to God and ever after that loved to talk to Him. He often asked his mother to pray with him. They had many remarkable answers, for the Bible says: "If two of you shall agree as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven." A fine promise, isn't it, children? Suppose you try claiming it.

On David's sixth birthday his mother told him to get his Bible and ask the Lord for a Scripture text for a birthday present. Kneeling beside his bed he opened at random to a beautiful promise to King David. He was delighted to find that the Lord had spoken to him by name.

Being very tender-hearted he could not bear to see any child at school who had less to eat than he; so before going, he often asked his mother for some extra sandwiches and fruit to give to the poor.

David loved to work. When father and mother did not need him he made a garden of his own, where he raised vegetables to sell, that he might have money for the work of the Lord. When he saw an old person working in a garden, it was his custom to alight from his bicycle as gracefully as an English knight, park it against the fence, and go in and do what he could to help One time he sped home and brought his own garden implements to better assist an old gentleman who in his feebleness was trying to dig his garden by hand. It was the little fellow's greatest joy to help others. Perhaps this is one reason why his own garden grew so well. People wondered at his success.

David loved his Bible and read as many as six chapters a day. He often conducted family worship, but before reading always closed his eyes and said aloud, "Now, Jesus, please give us what we need;" and it was wonderful how the Holy Spirit revealed the Word to him.

David and his mother were chums. As the years went by, his love of prayer increased; and many were the bright seasons he and his dear mother spent together kneeling before the Lord. The little fellow just revelled in prayer and communion with God.

One day David come rushing home from school all excited, saying that his teacher had read to the class the story of Job, and it was so wonderful he wanted to read it himself. So he got the Bible, and before he went to sleep that night finished the whole account.

When he was through he said to his mother, 'How beautiful! The Lord chastened Job but he blessed him abundantly."

When he said that, something went through his dear mother's heart, and she wondered if she too would soon have to go through suffering; but a voice said within her, "Everything could be taken from Job, but God remained with him."

Little David's cheerful disposition was remarkable, instead of whining and complaining when things went wrong, he seemed to want to make everybody happy. When he entered the house it was as the bursting in of sunshine. No matter how gloomy or discouraged others were, his spirit was able to pierce the dark clouds and bring light. Though others were grouchy and unthankful, little David went right on living in the heavenlies. The reason for this was that he was a true Christian and lived near the heart of God.

In Sunday School, his neat appearance, smiling face, keen understanding of the lesson and quickness to answer the questions made him the life of the class. As he dropped his never-failing coin into the plate, his heart beat with joy, for it was for the heathen children.

Miss Brockma, his teacher, said, "When I questioned the class as to what they intended to do later in life, David's answer was, 'I will pray about it and if I can I would like to be a minister'."

It was always an inspiration to older people to watch little David's face as he entered the church with his parents, bowed his head reverently in silent prayer, and sat quietly waiting for the service to begin. He was a perfect gentleman. Instead of squirming about and whispering, he sat like a statue listening to the sermon until it was finished, and when the hymns were announced he found the place quickly and sang feelingly, as though he enjoyed and understood every word.

As he sat there drinking in the truth, his little face shone with a heavenly light. One of his friends said that there was something that marked him out as being different from others and that same saintly look always attended him. "Little did I know," she added, "that the Good Shepherd had already set His mark on this lamb of the fold to be taken home so soon."

David's school teacher, Miss Ella Gildenhuis, says, "I shall never forget his sunny little face with the large, soft blue eyes, rosy cheeks and fair hair. He was always so ready to smile, to help, and to share his fruit, pencils, and stationery with his less privileged classmates. He always had something to tell me about his little sister, and I knew that he thought her the sweetest baby in the world.

"A couple of days before his illness, I told the class the history of Job, his wealth, his happiness and losses and through it all, his faith in God. I had the class repeat part of the twenty-first verse of chapter one: 'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'

"It must have made a big impression on him because his mother told me he asked for the Bible that night to read about 'the wonderful Job.' In his reading aloud he laid stress on the twenty-first verse. It was one of his last messages to his parents.

"David was so eager to learn the Gospel that I thought he was going to be a great preacher; but God needed him, so took our little sunbeam away to the heavenly school."

Three weeks before he died, Mrs. Anderson walked alone in the garden, when her little son's face came up before her and a voice said, "I will come and take David away before the end of the year." That was about the seventh of November. He was well and hearty at the time.

In a few days he asked permission to put his cot into his parents' room, so he could sleep near them. Then commenced a series of wonderful evenings, for after the little fellow had gone to bed he always read a chapter in his beloved Bible, quoted the twenty-third Psalm, read aloud all the Scripture text mottoes on the wall and sang, "When He cometh, when He cometh to make up His jewels." One night he and his dear mother became so earnestly engaged in prayer that the glory of the Lord filled the room so that it was the antechamber of Heaven. So plainly was the presence of the Lord felt that even baby Georgie, who was in her little bed, began to pour her soul out in earnest prayer. It was most unusual.

About November fourteenth David jumped across a stream of water that ran back of their garden and fell onto the protruding end of a stick, which went into his leg almost to the bone. After his mother dressed it, he was able to go to school. It healed nicely and he seemed all right, but in twenty days he came in with an awful headache, which tried to draw his head back. The doctor pronounced it lockjaw, and the little fellow was taken to the hospital.

His suffering was great, but he never lost faith in God, who mercifully spared him his speech. When his little body was drawn with agony, he never complained but asked his parents to pray. "I shall never forget," said his mother, that when in pain his face was shining." Though the doctors and nurses were present, he was never ashamed of his Lord, but frequently spoke of Him in their presence. All through the night he suffered. During the awful convulsions he looked upward and repeated the name of Jesus over and over again.

The next day, his little spirit passed out to meet the God he loved, while his lips were saying, "Jesus, Jesus."

I visited his grave but David was not there; he was in Heaven. I believe that he knows of the many children who are going to read of his life, and I am sure he wants you all to meet him in Glory.


From: THRILLING STORIES For Young And Old By Julia A. Shelhamer, God's Bible School and College, Cincinnati, Ohio. No Date