Uncle Frank's story



"A story! Uncle Frank, a story!"

"A true one about yourself, or someone you know," continued Willie standing up "straight as a sailor" and preparing to listen and enjoy.

Uncle Frank seated himself on the sofa, and took little Elsie to stand at his knee, his great, kind fingers making a warm, living girdle round her baby waist; Mary and Nettle squatted before him on the rug.

"Once upon a time," he began, "a young man was thrown out of work, unexpectedly, through a failure of the firm he was head clerk in. He was eager and anxious to get work, for his dear old mother depended on him to pay her rent and taxes, and the little bit of money he had saved would not go very far. He tried hard every day, but times were bad, and clerks were cheap. He was a Christian too, so there were some kinds of work he could not do"

"Why, Uncle?" interrupted Willie eagerly, "what work -- real work, not stealing -- is there that a Christian cannot do? Is there any?"

"Indeed there is," said Uncle Frank seriously. "A Christian who knows his business with Jesus as intelligently as he knows his business with the public, will never stand behind a whisky-bar, for instance, and that was just the trouble; for there were plenty of wine merchants, and licensed firms of all sorts, eager to give work and high pay to this young man, because his character was good. That is a strange thing, isn't it? The whisky people are eager to get hold of teetotallers! Well, he was getting tired and sad, this young fellow, and he began to think of a very good offer made him by a big brewer, of two hundred pounds a year, and a pretty cottage where he could take his mother, and -- altogether he wanted to make out that he could do this thing, and yet serve the Lord just as well! The brewer had urged him after his first refusal, and asked him to come to his house, a great mansion in the city-suburbs, and they would have a talk over it. He made up his mind to go; it could do no harm to see the brewer and have a friendly chat. And yet he was so uneasy about it that he said aloud, as he was brushing his hat to go: 'Lord, don't let me take anything that would dishonour Thee!' Now, how do you think Jesus answered that prayer? On his way to the brewer's that young man was run over, knocked down by a runaway horse, and his leg broken! He was taken to the hospital, and there he lay, in the accident ward, helpless. He fretted a little at first, but he soon remembered that 'all things work together for good to them that love God.' And, my babies!" said Uncle, with sudden earnestness, "whenever we see that, we are very near through all our troubles! On the next bed lay a poor man, dying; a silent man that would tell no one who he was, or where his friends were to be found. Through the night, when pain kept both awake, he talked to my friend, and --"

"What was your friend's name, Uncle?" asked Willie.

"It was the same as my own -- Frank Wilson. They became quite fond of each other, but as Frank got better, and looked forward to leaving the ward a hale man as before, this poor fellow sank nearer to his death every day. The night before he died he handed a sealed packet to Frank, and told him to deliver it with his own hand to the man it was addressed to. Frank promised willingly, and saw with surprise that it bore the name of a good man, the head of a great firm in the city. Weeks after the silent man's death, Frank delivered the packet to the gentleman in his own counting-house. He opened the packet, looked it over, and then looked at Frank with some astonishment. He questioned him, at first severely, then with growing kindness and favor. The silent man had been his cashier. The packet contained a large sum of money, which the poor guilty man thus restored, with a letter that told his former employer of his deep sorrow and repentance, and his humble hope that he, like the thief on the cross, had been forgiven much. Well -- that was Frank's prayer answered, you see, for he is that gentleman's partner now."


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