Pleasant prater surfs through a crowd of people enjoying the blinking lights and riotous music that this year Parade of Lights has to offer. Beaming smiles defeat the unforgiving Montana weather, spirits high infatuates almost every soul. One smiling gentleman sees it a fit opportunity to evangelize.
Jehoiakim: Ma’am, excuse me. I have something to give you.
The woman with reindeer antlers on her hat sees the tract in his hand then waves her hands to notion rejection.
Stranger: If you give it to me I will drop it on the ground. Please, give it to someone who wants it.
Jehoiakim: I will ma’am. Thank you for your time.
He eyes the man next to her who swiftly turns him away. Every soul he approaches rejects his small tract. Though some were not as polite as the woman with antlers on her hat. Jehoiakim walks with spirits high when he sees a despondent soul looking down at the feet of those passing through in the Parade of Lights. He shuffles through the tracts in his hand and selects one specific tract. He approaches the despondent man with a cheerful smile and speaks energetically.
Jehoiakim: Excuse me, Sir. Sir? I have something to give to you.
The man receives the tract Jehoiakim gives to him. ‘The Promise of Peace’ reads the title. The despondent soul opens the tract and reads the first three sentences.
Stranger: I’m in a tough situation? This can’t help me.
Jehoiakim: What won’t God do for those who trust in Him? Have faith and all will be well.
Stranger: Sure it will.
Jehoiakim: May God bless you.
Jehoiakim walks away and looks at the stack of tracts he has in his hand. He counts them and adds that number with the ones he has in his pocket.
I only have 249 left to hand out. Dear Father, I pray you lead me to another willing soul. Amen.
His eyes gleam as he looks around at all the faces. As he decides on whom he should approach next, a familiar face catches his eye.
Could it be? Is that my old friend from school, Harley Davis? Dear Father, thank you for this divine appointment. May this soul be added to your Lamb’s book of Life this day. Amen.
Jehoiakim: Harley, is that you?
Harley: Kim? Wow. Look at you. A full-fledged man. I can’t even remember the last time we spoke.
Jehoiakim: I can. Twelve long years my friend. It has been twelve years. I thought you moved away the same day you received your diploma?
Harley: I did. The weather in Los Angeles is perfect. The scenery is gorgeous. You should see L.A. Live in person. You won’t regret it. I’m discussing business with a friend of mine who lives here. I’m also taking the opportunity to spend the holidays with my family. Are you still doing that church thing?
Jehoiakim: I am the youth pastor for my church. You are welcomed to join us tomorrow morning. The same church we went to as children.
Harley: Sorry, buddy. I can’t come. My friends and I are going to enjoy ourselves tonight. After I sleep off the liquor, I have to attend to some business.
Jehoiakim: You’re still wasting your time with riotous living. A day doesn’t go by where your parents don’t pray for your sake. They try and set a good example for you and yet you haven’t learned anything these past twelve years have you?
Harley: Sure I have, buddy. We haven’t seen each other in twelve years. You can’t judge me after a one minute conversation. Let’s catch up. Come with me tonight and you will see the type of person I have become.
Jehoiakim: I don’t need to. Your lifestyle is what got your membership revoked back then and your lifestyle is condemned by God right now.
Harley: Kim, don’t be that way. I’m leaving to meet my friends. Come with me and we’ll talk along the way.
Dear Father, forgive me. I should not go along with him and yet I yearn to minister unto him. Forgive me, Dear Father. Give me words able to combat this rebellious soul I beg of you. Allow me to be a vessel that the Holy Spirit can use to minister to Harley. In the name of Lord Jesus, Amen.
Jehoiakim: I will go along with you, but be aware it is the Sabbath day. Let us not defile ourselves on God’s holy day.
Harley: See. God told you it is all right to go with me through your little prayer. The Sabbath begins at sunset. I haven’t forgotten. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. My friends and I will be tame tonight.
Harley leads Jehoiakim away from the riotous music and flashing lights which panders to a solace audience. Jehoiakim gets into the passengers’ seat of Harley’s Mercedes-Benz and Harley drives her onto the road.
Jehoiakim: Harley, why do you continue to act contrary to the word of God even after all this time? Is a life without God truly worthwhile? Twelve years outside the church should have taught you the true nature of this world.
Harley cracks open the window on his side. He pulls out an e-cigarette and smokes it.
Harley: I’ve had my share of hardships. And occasionally I take time out of my busy life to help others with their problems. Your problem is that you are too uptight.
Jehoiakim: That smell is nauseating. Can you please put it out?
Harley: It smells a lot better than regular cigarettes don’t you think? Just give me a minute and I will put it away.
Jehoiakim: You said you wanted to talk. How can we when I’m too busy holding my breath.
The e-cigarette remains in the open for the remainder of the car ride. Harley pulls into a lot brimming with cars. Many stood in the cold drinking beer in groups. Music and light came from the building adjacent to the lot.
Both men exit the vehicle and enter a space of beer and rock music. Harley begins walking and Jehoiakim follows behind him. Howbeit, he spots three men Harley is approaching and stops. These men laugh as they drink beer and smoke cigarettes. Each becoming merrier when they see Harley as he approaches.
Jehoiakim watches his friend engage with the group of three. The merriest of the men having bloodshot eyes and beer stains on his shirt. They laugh at him as he fumbles around and cannot keep still. Jehoiakim looks at the stars in the sky before clasping his hands and lowering his head.
Dear Father, I pray you send your Spirit to put your words in my mouth. May each word I speak be directly from your throne on high. As an orator for the gospel and a representation of your character here on this earth, Dear Father, please make me like Lord Jesus. Dear Father, as you prepare my speech and strengthen my character, I ask that you soften the hearts of these men. May they embrace the words you have prepared for them with all readiness of mind and of heart. May they see Lord Jesus within me. In Lord Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Stranger: What was that? Were you praying?
Harley: My friend here is a pastor. What’d I tell you? We need to teach him how to live a little. His whole life has been sheltered behind church walls. He doesn’t know anything else.
All but the fumbling man laugh as they catch Jehoiakim praying. Harley introduces his friend as they walk back to his car.
Harley: Kim, meet my drinking buddies. Daniel who is always drunk. Jeff is a p***-poor employee under my employment.
Jeffery: I resent that.
Harley: And Roscoe my business associate and co-owner of this bar.
Daniel: Harley says you can’t handle cigarette smoke. What kind of man can’t handle a little cancer in their system?
Jehoiakim: Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We must glorify God with our bodies.
The guys burst into laughter. Once Daniel catches on, he begins to laugh with them. Harley leans on his car and Daniel spills his beer while laughing. The curious sight bewilders Jehoiakim.
Jehoiakim: Why are all of you laughing? Have you no respect for our creator?
The men’s laughter sustains with his words. Daniel drops his bottle and falls backwards onto his butt as he laughs. Roscoe repeats the phrase “this is a serious matter” in mumbles.
Jeffery: Does it feel good when you glorify God with your body?
Daniel: I bet his momma gave him a girl’s name because she prophesied he would be God’s b****.
Jehoiakim: Every day I give glory to God. By maintaining a healthy vegan diet, exercising daily, drinking water above substitutes, taking in the fresh air and embracing the sun’s heavenly rays. By getting proper rest, practicing temperance in all things, and trusting God in all things. I give God glory when I abstain from all things which defile my body. Like cigarette smoke. This is how I glorify God with my body.
Harley: All right, let’s give the man a break. I told you this man needs to have a good time for once in his life. He’s the type of person who waits until he’s married to have sex. Are you married?
Jehoiakim: I’m not married. Why do all secular men I speak to seem to think happiness derives from sex? True happiness is derived from knowing God and showing love to those around you.
Daniel: You’re a virgin? What type of cult doesn’t allow a man the pleasure of getting laid? This s*** is unforgivable. This is the type of s*** is why I will never step foot inside of a church again. How can you call yourself a man if you’ve never f***** a p****?
Jeffery: Daniel thinks we need to get this man laid. How about it, Kim? Aren’t you interested in feeling a woman’s naked skin? Sticking your hairy d*** inside a woman’s p****? We can make it happen tonight.
Harley: Baby steps, Jeff.
Jehoiakim: Nothing would please me more than to hear you cease from your vain speaking. I would be ever-so-grateful if you filter your vocabulary and speak about our sisters with respect. If this is the manner of conversation you insist on having this night then my time here has been wasted. Do you not know that the soul that sins will die. We must rise above fleshly desires if we are to see heaven. If we refrain from evil doings now than our reward will be just. Peace of mind now and an eternal life in the perfect world to come.
Daniel: Your church has you brainwashed. Trust me. Once you get your d*** wet you will find true happiness. No f****** greater feeling in the world.
Jeffery: Sex and beer my friend. Sex and beer.
Daniel and Jeffery laugh while Harley and Roscoe chuckle. Jeffery takes a swig of beer from his bottle before passing it along to Daniel. Roscoe pinches two fingers and places them on his puckered lips. Harley sees the notion and hands him his e-cigarette. Jehoiakim looks to his feet and closes his eyes.
Dear Father, I understand now. Their hearts are too wicked for me to minister to them. Dear Father, I will leave them in your capable hands.
Jehoiakim walks away. As he walks toward the sidewalk Harley calls to him.
Harley: Where are you going, buddy? They were only kidding around. Don’t count it against them. Quit being sensitive and enjoy this night with us.
Jehoiakim: Trust in the Lord, Harley. He will deliver you. As for me, my place is elsewhere. I will add you to my list of prayers.
He shakes the dirt off the bottom of his feet then continues walking. All four men call him but he does not look back. Jehoiakim continues on his on through the cold, quiet streets. He pulls out his flip-phone and calls his brother in ministry.
Jehoiakim: You got that? I’ll be waiting here then.
Only 249 tracts to go.