One of Dad’s stories was used this morning at my Church, and I thought it worth retelling here.
|Dad and Mum, myself and two of My sisters Marina (on Dad's lap)and Sandra (on Mum's lap).|
The Prize, by Ronnie Oldfield.
As I look back on my life to think of something to tell you a story about, the one thing that becomes most clear to me is the greatness and love of God for his people ... I am terrified by the thought of what might have happened to me if I did not have Jesus.Up to the time I was 17 years old I was a keg of dynamite ready to explode! I was full of anger and hate for the world and the people in it. Then one day when I was 17 God stepped in and I became one of the friends of Jesus.
All my life I have found it very hard to spell and to read, and in those days if you could not spell or read there were no special classes to help you.
When I went to school, we had exams each year. I think I must have been one of the most consistent pupils to ever go to a State school! I never had a mark below zero .... true, never a mark below zero ... and never higher than 20 ... out of 100! And that was for arithmetic.
I think the reason why I had a good mark in arithmetic was because I didn’t wear shoes, so I could count on my fingers and my toes! I loved history and geography. I am sure that I would have received a mark of 100 if I could have read the questions and spelt the answers!We also had exams at Sunday School in those days.
One year just before the Sunday School exam time, about 30 boys around where I lived had a game of bike polo. We played that game in the paddock behind my place. Try to imagine 30 boys on their bikes going mad, trying to hit the ball ... bikes coming from all directions ... no rules ... just hit the ball, or try in anyway ... sticks and bikes going in all directions ... and trying to knock each other off their bikes. I tell you it was the hardest game I ever played ... it made football look tame! I loved it!
To cut a long story short, I was knocked off my bike and broke the thumb on my right hand. So the Sunday of the exam I could not write. The teacher and I went to a room by ourselves, and he wrote the answers that I gave.The next Sunday was prize-giving, the names of the people were called out, class by class to receive their prizes. All the class had been called, and my name had not been called ... so I was thinking that I had failed again!
Then the Sunday School Superintendent went on the stage and announced that the top prize in the Sunday School had been awarded to ... Ronnie Oldfield!I shot out of my seat like a rocket ... and I ran the fastest 50 metres dash of all time! I wanted that prize before they realized they had made a mistake! But there was no mistake. I had been given 95 out of 100 for the exam! I felt so happy! I had a smile as wide as the Sydney Heads! I wished my school teachers had been there and the boys who made fun of me because I could not spell or read ... to see the dunce of the school getting the top prize of the Sunday School!
I won the top prize for the next 3 years! But to make sure that I did well I went to a lot of trouble and pain! One year I went to the shed out the back, and hit my hand as hard as I could with a hammer, and one year I cut my hand with a steak knife and had to have stitches. The last time was with a hammer again.Do you know I have the greatest prize?
I don’t mean my wife ... she is the second greatest. The greatest prize is to be friends with Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. You don’t have to be clever ... because Jesus loves all people ... even people like me, an average person like me.You don’t have to hit yourself with a hammer, or cut yourself, or sit for an exam ... you only have to tell Jesus that you want to be one of his friend, then believe his promises and trust him ... then you will have the greatest prize anyone can have ... Jesus.