Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On The Road WIth The Human Condition

I told my brother, Dave, yesterday that I thought I could teach a Bible class on Biblical applications using only two sources for curriculum: Judge Judy clips and three minute episodes of CBS On The Road with Steve Hartman. The On The Road series is a revival of the feature hosted by Charles Kuralt which ran from 1967 to 1980. My students love these short dramas in which Hartman finds ordinary Americans, often in out of the way places, and tells their often remarkable stories. I watched one yesterday that I had not seen before. This installment was about a Secret Santa, a wealthy businessman, who travels the country each holiday season and hands out $100 bills to down and out folks he meets in bus stations and thrift stores. Hartman recounted that some years the amount distributed totaled $100,000! The vignette, set in Reading, Pennsylvania, focused on a thirty year old deadbeat dad, by the man's own admission. Thomas Coates, a heroin addict and the man pictured above, had not worked in a year and recently had stolen his son's toys to fuel his habit. When the benefactor tried to put the cash in his hands, Coates in a terribly sad voice said, "I didn't earn that." Santa replied, "I can tell you are a good man." When Hartman pressed the anonymous philanthropist on possible concern on how the gift would be spent, the humanitarian simply replied, "I don't judge them." My guess is that those in Thomas Coates' orbit would not share those kind sentiments.

Hartman interviewed Thomas Coates the day after he was the recipient of the $100 blessing. He told how the night before, his frustrated girlfriend challenged him to pray, something Coates admitted he had not done since he was  a boy. What's the rest of the story? Well, you are going to have to watch the clip posted below to find out. I will say this: the tortured face of Thomas Coates in this video is the face of the human condition....... and it's not a handsome face.

As I watched this segment, genuinely touched, I was reminded of two things. The first was Paul's sermon in Athens where he made the point that,
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 
The longing to reach out to God, hoping desperately he would be heard, was obvious in the eyes of this broken man whose life was in the gutter. The second thought was how right Coates was when he tried to deflect the money by saying he had done nothing to earn the gift. As sinners, we can earn nothing. The greatest gift ever was not given because of our merit but because of the Father's love: unexpected to an unworthy world with an unbelievable result. Props to the Secret Santa for giving folks a hand during a tough time of their lives. Praise to the Father for providing a dying world with the promise of everlasting life, wrapped in a blanket as a baby.

To watch the CBS On The Road clip, copy and paste the link below:

Applicable quote of the day:
God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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