Dream word – DEDICATION
2 Samuel 19:30
“Then Mephibosheth said to the king, ‘Rather, let him take it all, inasmuch as my lord the king has come back in peace to his own house.’” NKJV
“True friendship is eternal”
Once upon a time, there was a midget of a man, longing to make a difference. No, not much is known about Johnnie Ring, save that he was small, underdeveloped and in many respects, unwanted. Nevertheless, Johnnie’s amiable nature led him to be pitied. This pity and the subsequent kind condescension of others toward him, was however powerful enough to produce a revolving and fanatical faithfulness, the expression of which, would so turn a man to power the light of change, that this dark world still bathes in the light of it, even to this present day.
John Brown, the enormous abolitionist, had stayed with the Conwell’s just weeks before his hanging. Now, eighteen months later, that which Victor Hugo referred to as “America’s uncorrectable sin,” Brown’s murder, had indeed “created in the Union a latent fissure which was now shaking American democracy to the dire dislocations of civil war”. Just nineteen years of age, Russell Conwell had signed up to fight for the second time, his local militia this time electing him as their captain and banding together to buy him a shiny sword of ceremonial office. With his new sword, Captain Conwell looked quite the imposing veteran, quite the fighting man.
Johnnie Ring, was such an underdeveloped patriot however, that he looked like a boy! So much so, that this precluded him signing up himself to fight in the regular forces and so the only way he could get to war, was to plead with Captain Conwell to take him along as his servant. Conwell, neither wanted nor needed a servant, yet pitied his big-hearted little neighbour so much, that he took him along with him anyway. The thankfulness and devotion of Johnnie Ring towards Conwell for this act of kindness was all surpassing in its devotion and complete in its faithfulness, finding a particular expression in the shining and care of that sword purchased for Conwell by his comrades.
Johnnie Ring was a devoted Christian and when Conwell, a committed atheist, took to laughing at Ring’s consistent evening reading of the Bible and his constant praying, he simply took to reading of his Bible outside of his Captain’s tent and then polished his commander’s glittering sword, more vigorously every day!
A surprise Confederate attack on their position near New Berne led to a hasty retreat across the river by the Captain and his Union soldiers, the covered bridge of which, was lit in fierce and fiery flames behind them, forming a barrier which their pursuing enemies would not and indeed, just could not pass. Through the smoke and flying shot, Johnnie Ring, unlike his comrades and his Captain, had not retreated but had charged back to the Captain’s tent and retrieved the glittering sword left hanging on a pole in their hasty retreat. Carrying his precious emblem, Johnny ran toward the burning and blazing bridge. The shooting stopped and both Union and Confederate soldiers watched the little man run headlong into the crackling flames of the frightful furnace. After some time to the fearful cheers of all, Johnny Ring emerged out of the other side, all his clothes ablaze. He lingered in this life just a day or two after the event and awoke but once from his unconsciousness state to embrace the sword, laid so respectfully at his side, upon whose steel was etched the words, “True Friendship is Eternal”.
Captain Russell Conwell said that it was through Johnnie Ring, giving his life in devotion to him, that he later became a Christian. The Captain, for the rest of his life, hung this sword above his own bed. Each day, the over-diligent Conwell, worked eight hours for himself and eight hours for Johnnie Ring. In doing so, the Rev Russell Conwell became the founder of Temple University, and in his lifetime alone spoke to and influenced well over 10 million people! His legacy in Temple University and his many printed sermons, have influenced millions and millions more since his death.
Yes, once upon a time, there was a midget of a man, longing to make a difference.
Listen: “Now when he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armour, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.” - 1 Samuel 18:1-4 NKJV
Pray: O Captain O my Captain, I give myself to You in heartfelt dedication and service that my life, even through the flames, would release blessing to the world. Amen.
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