THE STOLEN BICYCLE
by Neil & Peggy Verwey
"One day during 1954, a man who I, Neil Verwey, had never seen before in my life, came to my door and asked if he could borrow my bicycle. "Yes, you can use my bicycle," I replied, thinking to myself that the man obviously did not know that I had the worst bicycle in the Japan Mission! Why should I have a new bicycle while the other evangelists went around on old ones, I had always reckoned.
"When I showed him my rusty bike, he looked disappointed as he studied the warped pedals and the weather-beaten saddle, but he wheeled it away, mumbling his thanks.
"A few weeks later I happened to meet him on the street and asked him, "What happened to my bicycle?" "Oh," he replied, "I was rather short of money, so I decided to put it in a pawn shop."
"I almost exclaimed, "How on earth could you put my bicycle in a pawn shop." But instead I whispered inwardly, "Lord, what would You like me to do in this case?"
"Give him the money you have with you," the Lord said to me. What? Was I to give money to this rogue, I thought? Nevertheless, I gave him all the money I had.
"Several days later I learned that on that very day this man had been on his way to commit suicide, because he had no money to buy food for his family. Because of my gift, his life had been saved. I shuddered as I thought of what might have happened, if I had not listened to the Voice of God.
"I lost contact with him until some time during 1980, when Doi Sensei, one of the Japan Mission's evangelists, said to me one day, "A tuberculosis patient in one of the hospitals I am visiting says that he stole something from you and wants to make restitution."
"No Japanese ever stole anything from me," I assured Mr. Doi. But when the patient fell down on his face, pleading for me to forgive him, I suddenly recalled the bicycle episode of 22 years ago. At that time both Mr. Mimura and - very soon after - his wife made a profession of faith.
"My next contact with Mr. Mimura was some sixteen years later at the beginning of 1996, when Mr. Mimura contacted me again and told me that he was dying of cancer.
"I arranged for him to go into a Christian hospice and it was so gratifying to visit him there and to sense his victory in the face of death. He told me about a terminally ill Christian professor in the hospice, who wept every time his wife visited him.
"My wife and I have Psalm 23 to carry us through this ordeal," he declared with the glow of heaven on his face. "How can I weep when my husband is so victorious?" his wife added.
"On September 22, 1996, Mr. Mimura peacefully slipped out of this world and into Eternity."
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." (Ps. 23:4)
TGIF Daily Devotional
When does God call people to long-term missionary service?
* 21% were called as a result of a missions education service in their local church
* 20% felt God calling them after listening to missionary speakers
* 19% were called because of their own family's missions vision and conversations
* 10% heard God's call through reading missionary books
-- Terry Read, missionary and missions professor