A special guest....


 

A few days ago I met with several friends that I have been gathering with for the past many years now.  The folks at my church and my board does not know about this. We meet discreetly in a board room of a bank in Winston -Salem to discuss what we, as Christian leaders in camping, churches and business, can do to help in our community and state. We set up our own foundation to help others that are struggling.  But this time, before I got on the elevator to go to the meeting to present my part of the monthly report, I was astounded to find myself being introduced to Bill Gates!  He had heard about my book and the camp and wanted to meet. I was dumbfounded. We had a nice talk, he was incredibly kind and cordial, but I had to go my meeting with my associates and give my report.

 

The members of my little “club” are very cerebral, accomplished, respected, gifted, etc. They  are all kind to me, but I am aware that each of them, in one way or another, are superior to me. I am the “little man” of our association.

 

Anyway, I told Mr. Gates I had to go the meeting—-just a few floors up from where I met him. He asked to come with me! Well, what can one say to one the wealthiest, most successful and well-known men on the face of the earth? 

 

So Bill Gates followed me into a room to meet with  the fifteen “pillars” of our community; they were, of course, speechless.  I recall how one of them instantly blushed red and could not speak. They could not believe what they were seeing! And then, as we began our meeting, I noted that all eyes were upon Bill Gates and no one was really paying attention to the reports. Every now and then Mr. Gates would ask a question or make a comment about the report.  And when he did speak, no one  countered him or muttered or whispered. We hang on every word he said.

 

At-any-rate, after all this gushing over what an incredible honor it was to have him at our meeting, it was my turn for a report. My task for the group is fund-raising and to report on where we were and how much we were lacking, etc.   I can still recall how awkward it felt to talk about a few thousand dollars in front of a man worth billions.  But I gave the report, and apologized for talking about money in front of Mr. Gates, but I explained that my job was to serve as the official “beggar” for our little organization—-it’s what I do best, or perhaps it’s what no one else likes to do.

 

I reported that we had raised less than we needed which necessitated that we find a way to make ends meet.  Bill Gates interrupted and ask how much our group was lacking, and I duly reported that we were about $80,000 short of our goal. He then asked what our budget for our charitable work was, I reported that it was about $800,000 a year.  He scoffed and told us that should seek more and do more…..and then committed to give us $100,000,000 for our efforts.  No one moved, but  I worried that the treasurer might succumb to a heart attack at any moment.  But what was most on my mind was: “Rats! I should have told him about my camp’s needs as well!”

 

And then, sadly, I woke up…….all a dream. What a pity!  I prayed for the meaning or interpretation, if there was one, to that dream!!!   And what I believe God was telling me was merely this:  Bill Gates is rich, powerful and well-known. But there is one far richer, more powerful and known all over the universe—-His name is Jesus Christ.    We fawn over men and women of great power and hang on every word they pronounce—-but what about the words of Jesus?  When we stand in the presence of Presidents, sports legends, movie starts or billionaires, and we’re speechless.  But where is our heart and reverence when we stand before the Prince of Peace and Son of God?  Bill Gates told me that my sights have been set far too low for far too long in the work I am doing,  and he then blessed my little club to the point or a cardiac rest!  But is  not our heavenly Father able to do infinitely more?

 

If I came to a meeting bringing Bill Gates I would get a lot of attention and I would never forget the exhilaration of knowing that such an incredible man chose to talk to me, sit beside me, listen to and then bless me. And yet I fail to remember that a man considerably more important than Bill Gates did this for me when I was twelve years old.  My friend, Jesus, can do far more for you than Bill Gates! Do you know the same One I know?

 

 

Warmly,

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Dean Barley

1945 Vineyard Road

Westfield, NC 27053

336 351 2070

www.vineyardcamp.com

 

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