A Gentle Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
“Endgate! This is endgate!” Ben greeted Walt, his pastor, at the door, waving a beer bottle. “This is the last drink I’ll ever take, I promise,” he said tearfully. The poor man’s wife had called us because her husband had come home drunk after several months of sobriety. She was broken-hearted. His uncontrolled drinking had cost the family innumerable and costly problems through the years. Of course the man was penitent. He always was. But he couldn’t stop the drinking, and his job was in jeopardy.
“Somehow,” Walt thought compassionately, “I’ve got to find another way to help this guy.” He said aloud, “How about coming to my house tomorrow morning? Be there by 8:30, and we’ll spend the day together. Can you do that?”
“Yes, Preacher, I’ll be there.” And he was.
That day Ben went everywhere his pastor went. To the pastor’s study, to share a time of Bible reading and prayer and then time with the staff. To the sound studio for the daily radio broadcast. To the hospital, to visit several sick people. To lunch, at home with the family. To the church office, to wait while the pastor made several phone calls, dictated some letters, and then worked on his messages for Sunday.
Ben went home elated. “Tomorrow, same time?” he asked hopefully. Sure enough, the second day went just as happily. “Preacher,” he said earnestly, “if I could just be with you all day every day, I’d have this problem licked.”
“I have a better idea than that,” Walt answered. “The Lord Jesus has promised He’ll be with you, day and night, and always. Ben, start talking to the Lord all day long. Tell Him how you need Him. Lean on Him. He’s promised He’ll help you.
For Jesus Himself has said,
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So we may boldly say:
“The LORD is my helper; I will not fear.” Hebrews 13:6
So Ben began his days by asking the Lord Jesus to be with him. Things got better at home and at work. Walt phoned him ever day, and the reports were good—
—until one day Ben said with glee, “Preacher, I’ve got a six-pack in the fridge as proof I’ll never ever take another drink!”
“Uh, Ben, I don’t think that’s a good idea. You know you can’t be a moderate drinker. It’s all or nothing. You need to get rid of the six-pack. Remember Romans 13:14? It says—
“But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you,
and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
“Don’t worry, Preacher,” Ben reassured his pastor; “I’ve got the drink problem licked.” But Walt did worry, and he was not surprised when the six-pack disappeared from Ben’s refrigerator, to be replaced by another six-pack and then another.
This story does have a happy ending. Ben did come to see the six-pack in the fridge made it easy to take another drink. So he emptied the latest six-pack down the sink. Bob became a patient encourager of other men tempted by any sort of six-pack in the fridge.
As you may know, I don’t happen to have a six-pack in my fridge. But perhaps there are other areas in my life, other kinds of six-packs, that I need to confront. And maybe you do too. Let’s work on it. Let’s let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of us, and remove anything in our lives that tempts us to sin. No more six-packs in the fridge!