At the Barber Shop I go to, we talk about guitars a lot. One of the Barber’s, Clay, was telling me that a bunch of guys get together at the Barber Shop on Monday nights to pick guitar. He invited me to come. I travel a lot and couldn’t make a Monday night for a couple of months. One Monday, my son, Matthew, and I decided to go to the Barber Shop and play. I warned Matthew before we went that probably all they would play would be bluegrass and old gospel which neither of us cares for, but we still thought it might be interesting.

There were quite a few guys of all ages there. Clay, the Barber, was there and one elderly man named David was there. As we began to play, I learned that David was 80 and had been recently diagnosed with leukemia. He informed us that, “I’m not taking no chemotherapy…I’m ready to go home when God decides to take me...He's given me a good 80 years."

Matthew and I played and tried to follow as much as we could. Neither of us knew very many bluegrass songs (we’d rather be playing praise music or maybe some Skynrd) but it was still a fun evening. As the night went on, the elderly gentlemen, David would say, “Play the church in the dale song; play the church in the dale.” The guys looked around at each other and said no one has been able to figure out what song he’s talking about. He’s been asking us to play that song for the last couple of months.

I thought for a moment and then remembered…when I was little, I would watch the Lawrence Welk show at my grandmothers and they would sing a song on the show that I absolutely despised. I started to play and sing it:

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood,
No lovelier spot in the dale;
No place is so dear to my childhood,
As the little brown church in the vale.

O Come, Come, Come, Come
Come to the church in the wildwood,
Come to the church in the dale,
No spot is so dear to my childhood,
As the little brown church in the dale.

David said, “That’s it! That’s it!” David’s face was filled with absolute joy and lit up the room. We went on to other songs until late in the evening David asked, “play the church in the dale one more time, play it just one more time.” (Remember…I can’t stand that song.) I looked at Clay, the Barber, and he shook his head yes and I shook mine back in acknowledgment. With that eye contact, we both knew that David would not be around much longer.

As I began to play, everyone started to follow and sing at the top of their lungs:

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood,
No lovelier spot in the dale;
No place is so dear to my childhood,
As the little brown church in the vale.

O Come, Come, Come, Come
Come to the church in the wildwood,
Come to the church in the dale,
No spot is so dear to my childhood,
As the little brown church in the vale.

I cannot express the joy in David’s face or the joy everyone in that shop had in sharing that moment with David. It made a difference in an old man's life if only for a few minutes. For those very few minutes…in an unusual place…with people we didn’t know…to music we didn’t like…we worshipped.

I was in the barber shop the other day and they asked me to play the guitar they keep in the corner. Clay asked if I could play the song I played on that Monday night. As I finished it, I asked, “What happened with David…is he still around.” Clay pointed to the wall where they had a framed picture of David. Clay said that he was with the Lord now.

A couple of points about the story...we worshipped in an unusual place, with people we didn't know, to music we didn't like. How could that happen?

God gives us a talent and an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. We have to have a willing heart to be used by Him. We have to listen with our hearts to know when those opportunities come up. How do we do that?

God’s Holy Spirit that lives within each believer lets us know when those opportunities to show God to other people present themselves. The closer our walk with the Lord, the more sensitive we become to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives. Sometimes those opportunities are just like I had in the barber shop. They are a chance to make a difference, if only for a moment, in someone’s life.

Views: 14

Comment by David Bull on November 12, 2009 at 7:51pm
I'm really glad you got that opportunity David. I think most of us need to minister to people outside our ghetto more often, in the way you did just gently showing love rather than trying to thrust the gospel down peoples throats.

I have to ask myself do I dare ask God for opportunities like that?

David Bull.

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