One morning, in a city of Switzerland, a rich man sat in his beautiful home.He was lonely and discouraged. There was no earthly friend to whom he cared to tell his troubles. He knelt down alone and prayed that God would send him a friend.
That same morning in the same city there was a young lad who had learned about the soon coming of Jesus. His heart was filled with joy as he thought of soon seeing his Saviour. He longed to tell others this truth, that they too might be happy.
He had decided to canvass [share with others door to door] a book that told about the second coming of Christ. Before he left his room that morning, he prayed that God would guide him to those who needed help. He prayed that God would send an angel before him to get people ready to buy the book.
Up one city street and down another this lad walked, showing the people his book, telling them about Jesus, and here and there taking orders. So the morning passed until it was nearly noon. On the street where he was working there were still a few houses at which he had not called. He wanted to finish his work on that street before he stopped for lunch.
The next house was large and beautiful. He always dreaded to call at such rich homes, for often the people did not want to let him in. Still he must not pass any by. He stepped to the door. He wiped his feet on the big rug, and then wiped them again. He rang the doorbell. Then he waited.
Soon a servant opened the door, and the lad gave him his card. The servant carried the card to his master. In a few moments he returned.
“The master is at lunch,” he said. “He is sure you have nothing that will interest him, and he does not wish to be disturbed.”
“Thank you,” said the lad as he walked away.
A few moments later he heard someone hurrying after him. He looked around, and there was the servant whom he had just left.
“The master wishes you to return at once, if you will be so kind,” he said.
The lad hurried back to the rich home where he met a fine, rather elderly Swiss gentleman. The gentleman took the lad into the dining room, gave him a chair at the table, and told the servant to lay another plate. Soon they were left alone.
“My boy,” said the gentleman, “this morning I prayed God to send me a friend. I was lonely and discouraged, and I knew of no one to whom I cared to turn. Just now when I sent you away, a voice said to me distinctly, ‘There I sent you a friend, and you have sent him away!’ So I called you back. Now why did God send you to me? What have you brought me?”
The lad’s heart went out in love to this man. The man had all that money could buy, but he did not know the hope of Jesus’ soon coming. The lad looked at the man with eyes full of the hope and joy that he himself had found in obeying the commandments of God.
“I have brought you a book which contains a message of hope and courage and faith in the Friend of friends, who can give you all that you wish,” the lad answered.
The gentleman was deeply interested. Hope began to spring up in his heart. He believed God had sent this lad in answer to his prayer. He invited the lad to come to his home every week and study the Bible with him. It is in just this way that God is seeking out the earnest, praying ones and getting them ready for Jesus’ soon coming.
Cockleshells, True Education Series, Pacific Press Publishing Association, © 1976, 5–8.