One summer day Old Bill was privileged to have a Moses kind of conversation with God. Bill was sitting on a bench at the local park he liked to visit. The place was usually teeming with people as Bill regularly put out seed for the pigeons. The park was mostly quiet even though the weather was sunny and warm with just a hint of a breeze.
When the Lord spoke in an audible voice, Bill was not a bit surprised. The Lord asked Bill how he was doing. In his much-rehearsed answer that he gives everyone else, Bill said, “I can’t complain,” and spread out a little more seed for the pigeons gathered at his feet.
Bill glanced at the other end of his favorite park bench to see the Lord sitting there with him. He had a thought that maybe this was his time to go. Bill welled up with tears in his eyes. Not tears of fear or sadness but of genuine gratefulness. The Lord leaned forward with his elbows on his knees and clasped his hands together saying, “Not yet Bill. I’m just here to chat.”
Bill wanted to jump up and give the Lord a huge hug and then fall on his knees in worship. The Lord said, “Just sit here with me for a bit.” Bill was shaking inside until the Lord spoke. Then, calm filled him inside and out. Bill could hear “I’m just here to chat,” rolling in his mind like a gentle echo of thunder in the distance—quiet yet filled with power.
Time was irrelevant while Bill chatted with Jesus. There was much laughter and many tears of joy as Bill and Jesus reminisced over the years of Bill’s service to him. Bill talked with Jesus about different things that happened over the years while both of them took turns spreading out seed for the pigeons from the paper bag Bill had brought from home.
Jesus spoke, asking Bill if he remembered the time when he was just a teenager and put his first tithe in the offering plate at church. Bill barely had a recollection of it. Jesus said, “I remember it like it is happening right now.”
Jesus asked Bill if he remembered the twenty-seventh person that was led to Salvation because of Bill’s service as a Sunday School teacher. Bill had no idea who it may have been. Jesus said, “It was your cousin Elizabeth Ann. She went up to the altar after service that Sunday, but it was your words spoken in agreement with my Spirit that brought her to me.”
Bill was thankful as his older cousin had been gone for years now. There was a quiet pause as the warm breeze blew among the pines surrounding that little nook in the park where Bill’s favorite bench was located. Bill looked down at the ground and spoke quietly to Jesus, saying, “You remember everything I did in service to you, Lord. You remember things I have forgotten. That is a little scary.”
Jesus replied looking at Bill, “Why is that?” Bill began to tear up a bit, and with a quivering voice he said, “Do you remember when I stole that candy from the corner store when I was a very young man? I ask because that is the first sin I can remember.”
Jesus gazed upward with a look on his face like a man trying his best to remember something. Jesus held his hand to his chin while tapping his index finger on his lips. For Bill, this delay in reply felt like eternity. Jesus put his hands on his knees pushing himself up from the bench and stood in front of Bill. Then he said, “No Bill. I don’t recall that at all.”
Tears obscured Bill’s vision as Jesus began to walk away.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
— Hebrews 8:12