When The Light Goes Out Inside You by Frank Pollard

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I Samuel 16:14
Tom Shipp was one of the greatest men I've never known.
He was a minister in Dallas, Texas, a former professional
baseball player, and a recovered alcoholic. I never met him,
but I heard him tell this story.
One day, late in the afternoon, a man met Tom in the hall-
way of his church. "Say, Buddy," the man asked, "can you
spare me a couple of bucks for a meal?"
"No, I can't." said Tom, "but I'll be glad to take you to
During the meal the unshaven, shabbily dressed beggar
became uncomfortable when he noticed the preacher was looking
at him.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Because," said Tom Shipp, "I believe there's a lot more
to you than can be seen right now. I have an idea the next
time we meet you may be so changed I'll not recognize you."
An hour or so later, during a wedding rehearsal, Tom saw
someone in the balcony of the church. The lights were not on
in the balcony, but he could see a person in the shadows.
When the rehearsal was over he went up in the balcony and
found his former dinner companion sitting there. Tom Shipp
sat down beside the man. Neither of them said a word. For
two hours they sat together in silence. About midnight Tom
said: "I've really got to go. I need to lock up the church.
There's a funny thing about this church. When the doors are
locked they can't be opened, without a key, from either side.
You're welcome to stay, but if you do you won't be able to
get out until the morning."
Now the beggar told his story. He had been a frustrated
and defeated pastor of a fairly large church. One day the
burden became too heavy. He simply walked away from his
family, his ministry, and for the past many weeks had just
drifted from one city to another living off the benevolence
of churches. To complete the story, Tom Shipp says the man
did return to his family and his church.
Yet here was one whose light went out ...

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