Charlie left the office reeling, two weeks before Christmas he had been told to up sticks and move across the country. No satisfactory explanation, he was to move on January 2nd. How was he going to tell the kids, they had always lived in Pinkerton. Their friends and neighbours would be sorely missed.
After a few minutes of self-pity, he got on with the logistics of a move around Christmas. He told few people but found a lovely three-bedroom house in the suburbs of Newcastle Upon Tyne. It was on a road called Kingsway. He trusted that this was a sign of his walk in the Lord, he was walking not by sight but by faith alone.
The children took the news well, he made it sound like a fun adventure. He showed them the house on google maps and they saw the garden. They had never had a garden and had only just moved into a flat with a separate bedroom. Up until then, they had been in a bedsit, no bigger than a hotel room.
During the Christmas period, Charlie and the kids were spoilt rotten by their friends, not one day went by without a party or a meal. Only on the 25th did he think sadly of what he was leaving behind, he thought of his wife. Oh, how he missed her. She died during the birth of Anna, his gorgeous eight-year-old daughter who jumped in puddles and dreamed of snow.
He prayed a lot; Lord, he said, I know you will provide, I know you will keep us protected, I know you love us. Lord, I love you so much. I am so grateful for all you have done for me already, the gifts of Anna and Elijah, so grateful we will have a roof over our head and food in our bellies. Use me, Lord, however you will and help us find a place to worship in our new town. Amen
Across town, on the day Charlie had reeled out of the office, Billy sulked. A new supervisor had come with new ideas and people liked them, Billy was feeling left out. His way of supervising was being sidelined and his popularity was waning. He felt resentment against the new woman. He blamed his feelings on her and their boss. Billy was a political animal, so he tried to get people on his side against this new one. But people tried to change Billy’s, hardened heart. In his intransigent state, there was no turning. He believed God had told him to work in this way, he believed that his way was the only way and he believed that the new supervisor was not as good as him. By Christmas Day he had worked himself into a frenzy and wrote a letter of resignation.
With a very heavy heart, hardened by resentment and bitterness Billy went looking for a new job in the New Year and he got Charlie’s old job. Everyone in this office told Billy about Charlie, about how he was told to leave and how he did just that. How he lived his life by faith, not by sight. The whole office had been changed by Charlie and his faith, openly they talked about the Bible and the Lord. Billy felt blessed.
In time as Billy and his heart were softened, he saw that he had been wrong, he had been trying to not change. But he was learning that he was supposed to change, each day to change more like Jesus. He thought of the new supervisor and her ways and he saw how actually he was jealous of her talents and gifts in getting the people to do the work. He thought about Charlie and all he had to go through and one night, on his knees, he cried out to God.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honour and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favouritismRomans 2