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Larry and the Drunk

By Pastor Casey Higgins

“To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 
1 Corinthians 9:22.  

Larry Claridge was in his mid-eighties but still wanted to serve the Lord. A man of few words but a huge heart that prayed that when it came time for him to die he might do so in the act of doing something for Jesus. Constantly Larry was finding people needing help and assistance, and faithfully this senior citizen was giving of his time and finances to help their needs.
One day as Larry was driving home, he saw a man who appeared to have just fallen on the side of the street. Larry pulled his truck over, got out, and went over to the man lying on the roadside. Only then did he realize that this individual was completely drunk. But Larry helped him get up and supported him as he got him into the truck.

Eventually Larry was able to learn where the man lived and took him home. It turned out to be the cab over camper for a pick up sitting in a vacant lot.

Larry helped him up into the bed and then wrote his own name and phone number on a slip of paper and gave it to the man saying,
If you ever need any help just call this number.
Well that was the beginning of numerous phone calls. All of which came after Larry was in bed and already asleep. Usually it was a bartender asking for a person named Larry because he had a man give him this slip of paper to call. The man was too drunk to make it out of the bar, so would Larry come and get him? And Larry would say yes and climb out of bed, get dressed and go to the bar to get this man.
Over and over, this would happen. Sometimes Larry feared that the fellow might vomit and choke to death in his sleep, so Larry would sit the night through there in that cramped camper to morning just to make sure the man would be all right.
Finally, after many months of this, the fellow woke up to see Larry sitting there on the camper, and asked Larry,
Why do you keep showing up to rescue me?"

Well, Larry replied, I guess it's because I have someone who keeps showing up and rescues me, and I am just passing that along.

You need rescuing? the man asked. Who is it that rescues you? Maybe I've met him. Does he live around here?

Yes Larry answered. His name is Jesus

Never met him or heard of him, the man shook his head. Would you introduce him to me? I'd like to know him.

Well I'd need a Bible, Larry explained, because that is where I meet Him and we get acquainted everyday.

Then for several months, Larry and this man met and studied together. Oh, it wasn't what some would call the core beliefs or doctrines, but it was the gospel of John and the life and love of Jesus!

One day after their study the man asked Larry,
Say, do you go to church or something, 'cause if you do I was wondering if I might come, too?

It would be an honor, replied Larry and he explained where he went to church and that it was held each Saturday.

What should I wear? asked the fellow.

What do you have to wear? responded Larry.

I don't have much in the line of clothes, the man replied. “Just blue jeans, a flannel shirt, this baseball cap, and my tennis shoes.

That will be just fine, Larry assured him.  "I'll be by to pick you up!

Now I must tell you that Larry's home church was not some little Adventist country church out in the woods. No, it was situated in the middle of a very large Adventist community and hosts the Hope Channel TV programming for the satellite uplink. So people didn't come to church in casual attire.

Next Sabbath as Larry brought his friend to church they walked in together, BOTH of them in blue jeans, flannel shirts, baseball caps, and tennis shoes. Nor did Larry offer any explanation or tell the other church members to cut the fellow some slack because of who he was. Larry just did what he did because that was what he thought Jesus would do.

Months later after many more Sabbaths of blue jeans and flannel shirts, Larry testified of the happiest day in his life as being that Sabbath as he watched this friend, now a brother in Christ rise from the waters of baptism. 

Perhaps Larry knew the essence of what Paul wrote in our verse of
becoming all things to all men so that by all possible means I might win some.