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August 13, 2020

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

August 13, 2020
Four years ago, two police officers approached a black teen in Barnesville, Georgia on the campus of Gordon State College.

I can imagine where you think this is going, but thankfully it’s not.

The officers, Dicky Carreker and Maria Gebelein were responding to a concern about a tent on the college campus and that’s how they met Fred Barley. Barley came out of the tent and showed them his college I.D. After talking with him they became aware of the young man’s humility and decided he was, “a driven student who had done nothing wrong and who was dedicated to his education and to finding a job.” 

They found out that Barley was homeless and had ridden his younger brother’s small 20-inch bicycle six hours from Conyers, Georgia to Gordon’s campus with nothing but a duffle bag, a tent, a box of cereal and two gallons of water. Barley knew the dorms didn’t open for a few more days, but said he wanted to be sure he made it to town with enough time to find a job. He had spent three days camping in his tent when the officers found him.

Barley told the officers, “The Bible says, ‘You can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you,’ so I know I can. My legs are working. Millions of people walk and bike to work every day. I definitely think I can bike a couple hours to get to my future.” 

Inspired by Barley’s determination and Christian faith, officers Carreker and Geblein gave him the money they had in their wallets and took him to the Sun Inn Motel where they each paid for a night’s stay.  

But it didn’t stop there. People in Barnesville soon heard about Barley’s situation and have brought him gift cards, clothes, and food. One person gave him a new adult-sized mountain bike. He was even given a job at the local pizzeria. But what is even better is through a GoFundMe page started by a resident of Barnesville, they have raised over $184,000 to pay for Barley’s education and dream of attending medical school.  

As Officer Carreker said, “It’s just beautiful how our community has come together to help someone in need. Barnesville is the epitome of a small town with a big heart.” 

Sounds like Barnesville is a great place to live! It ALSO sounds like it has residents who follow Jesus and when they get to Heaven they are sure to hear Him say:
“‘Enter, you who are blessed by My Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why: I was hungry and you fed Me. I was thirsty and you gave Me a drink. I was homeless and you gave Me a room. I was shivering and you gave Me clothes.’ Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are You talking about? When did we ever see You hungry and feed You, thirsty and give You a drink? And when did we ever come to care for You?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was Me—you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25 – The Message)

Keep the SON in your eyes!
Mark
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