Threshing The Wheat From The Chaff


| July/August 1971



I was lugging my trash-can out the other morning, just as the garbage truck hove into sight. The two garbage collectors descended from their august perch atop the big truck. They were very helpful in aiding me with my household refuse. Then they paused long enough to give me a little sermon.

'Do you' ns go to church? If you don't attend any church, you're welcome to come down to ours on Tillman Avenue, where Rev. Adams preaches.'

'I'm mighty glad to know you go to church. I am an elder in the Presbyterian church but I find that some of the best sermons come over the radio,' I replied.

I was quite reassured to know that we had Christian employees serving us in the city sanitary department. This is the segment of a city government that can often give hard times to their patrons up and down the alleys often resulting in damaged trash cans, spilled refuse and the like. But I felt we wouldn't have trouble with men who seemed concerned about my spiritual welfare. They were kind and helpful in their suggestions as to just how to get better service by packaging the refuse. They even offered, very politely, to help me move my trash burner to the proper location, if I so desired. But the thought that struck me most significantly was that it was the very first time in my life I had ever been proselyted in the Christian faith by a crew that manned the lowly garbage truck. I noticed they worked in very close harmony with each other. There was no rough, obscene language only kind, helpful advice, a willingness to serve, plus a concern over my spiritual hereafter.

True Christianity is popping up in the least expected circles these days. No longer is the Divine Word a prerogative of long-robed theologians preaching in plush carpeted sanctuaries to colemnvisaged members in marble collegiate, high-spired edifices. Christianity has now reached down into the gutter to lift up those who never had heard its voice before. It's transforming the campuses, the long-haired addicts, the homeless ones who have discovered that bombing and burning dormitories are not the satisfying escape from life's problems as they once thought.

We have been reading 'The Cross and The Switch-Blade' a book written by David Wilkerson. Wilkerson was a small town preacher in Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania. But he kept getting the urge to go and contact some of the gang leaders in the terrible asphalt jungle that makes up a large portion of New York City society. He didn't even know how to drive in the Big City. He had a terrible time of it, but he kept going back until he did make some crude contacts with some of the murderous knife-wielding gangsters who rule the outcasts of Gotham's gutters. He was often spit upon, slapped in the face, cursed and threatened by the murderous, slashing switch-blade and the gas-pipe the two main weapons of the big city gangs. He went into some of the dark, dingy dens where pot-smokers were living at Hell's portals. Yet he spoke of Jesus as loving them. Several hard-core gang leaders became converted and they, in turn, began helping the fearless Davie to carry on his work. If a gang leader became a Christian, he could influence those of his gang to attend the revival meetings. The sermons were only fifteen minutes in length, but they were packed with a Gospel of Love, showing these hapless, homeless ones that there was One who cared for them.