© 2019 Bill Murphy
This is a re-post. It was originally posted on November 28, 2017. The reason for the re-post is that for the original posting, I was forced to use a stock photo of the small red Gideon Bible, as mine was lost. I’ve searched for it numerous times since then, but to no avail. But yesterday, that cherished memento was found! I took a few liberties and ‘tweaked’ a few works. I hope you’ll enjoy this sweet memory with me!
I’m certain this writing assignment was expected to invoke responses such as: Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men or The Old Man and the Sea. But the one book that had the most effect on my life, is the Bible. To be more specific, a small red Gideon’s New Testament, which I was given in 1952 – and promptly read.
At that time, I was in George Elementary School in Jackson, Mississippi. George was a neighborhood school. We had no need of school buses, and I can’t remember a single child being dropped off by automobile.
I was a ‘Safety Patrol Boy’ that year. Every intersection surrounding the school, and for a couple of blocks beyond, was manned each morning and each afternoon by a patrol boy, to insure that the smaller kids got safely across the street.
Early that year, the Gideon’s visited to our school, and passed out small red New Testaments to the students. As you see in the photos, I still have mine.
When I received my Testament, I was assigned to a rather dull and boring intersection – with few students to monitor. Morning and afternoons, I spent my time reading. I finished the entire book before my intersection assignment changed.
I was raised in a Christian home. We were not just church members, but church attenders, Sunday mornings as well as Sunday nights. Dad was on the Board of Stewards, and Mom was the head of the Primary Department. Needless to say, my sister and I received our fair share of perfect attendance awards. But one does not become a true ‘believer’ by osmosis.
As I read my little Testament, the words seemed to come alive as never before. Something really weird was happening, something that I couldn’t at first understand. And then it came to me, my Eureka moment.
Before, because I was so closely associated WITH church, and thoroughly indoctrinated with the teaching of the church, and because our church was a Christian church, ergo, I must be a Christian. But for the very first time in my young life, my heart was called upon to decide – did I really BELIEVE all this small tiny book was telling me – or didn’t I.
That was 67 years ago, but I can remember the morning as clearly as if it were yesterday, the day that I determined in my heart and in my mind, that YES, I believe. And belief and trust in the subject of that small book, has changed my life forever.