A Break in the Clouds

You have not fulfilled every duty, unless you have fulfilled that of being pleasant.

         Charles Buxton


How's business Eben?" The old man was washing at the sink after his day's work.

"Fine, Marthy, fine."

"Does the store look just the same? Land, how I'd like to be there again with the sun shining in so bright! How does it look, Eben?"

"The store's never been the same since you left it, Marthy." A faint flush came into Martha's cheeks. Is a wife ever too old to be moved by her husband's praise!

For years Eben and Martha had kept a tiny notion store, but one day Martha fell sick and was taken to the hospital. That was months ago. She was out now, but she would never be strong again - never more be partner in the happy little store.

I can't help hankering for a sight of the store, thought Martha one afternoon. If I take it real careful I think I can get down there. 'Tisn't so far.

It took a long time for her to drag herself downtown, but at last she stood at the head of the little street where the store was. All of a sudden she stopped. Not far from her on the pavement stood Eben. A tray hung from his neck. On this tray were arranged a few cards of collar-buttons, some papers of pins and several bundles of shoe-laces. In a trembling voice he called his wares.

Martha leaned for support against the wall of a building nearby. She looked over the way at the little store. Its windows were filled with fruit. Then she understood. The store had gone to pay her hospital expenses. She turned and hurried away as fast as her weak limbs would carry her.

It will hurt him so to have me find it out! she thought, and the tears trickled down her face.

He's kept it a secret from me, and now I'll keep it a secret from him. He shan't ever know that I know.

That night when Eben came in, chilled and weary, Martha asked cheerily the old question:

"How's business, Eben?"

"Better'n ever, Marthy," was the cheery answer, and Martha prayed God might bless him for his sunshiny spirit and love of her.

- Anonymous - reprinted from The Ladies Home Journal


Man is the merriest specie of the creation; all above or below him are serious.


Ministers are not martyrs. Most ministers have a saving sense of humor and look on the sunny side of life. When Monday morning rolls along, and it is so-called "Minister's Blue Monday," they get together like birds of a feather. In those ministers' conferences from time to time the preachers are boys again and swap yarns and experiences. In some of these meetings the cream of humor comes to the top

One summer while vacationing in New York City my eye fell on the announcement in a prominent paper, offering a prize for the funniest experience on the part of the readers. In due time I sent in mine. A few days later a beautiful check was received for my prize-winning experience. Here it is: I had preached in a certain church on Sunday. On Friday I received the following letter: "Dear Brother: Since I heard you preach I have gotten so that I can not walk. Please get me a wheelchair." If any preacher wishes to go in the wheelchair business I will send him some of my old sermons.

A friend of mine married a couple. The girl weighed probably close to 300 pounds. The man would not weigh more than a hundred, judging from his diminutive size. When the time came for the presentation of the wedding ring, the little groom was about to place the band of gold on the ring finger of the colossal bride. It did not fit, whereupon the little fellow exclaimed; "Oh baby, it does not fit." The preacher was asked to furnish a file, and the little groom, who was a mechanic as well as an ardent lover, filed the ring off until it fitted, whereupon the ceremony was completed.

A very pompous preacher, whose "bay window" was the only sign of his greatness and who had a fairly good opinion of himself, was trying to make a gathering of people laugh at the expense of a preacher who was not quite so corpulent as he. The preacher of small stature had a reputation of being a hearty eater. He had also the reputation of being witty. Listen to the historic dialogue: "A great deal of good food has been wasted on Brother Little; it does not seem to have done him much good." Laughter. Whereupon Brother Little quietly arose saying: "Mr. Chairman, food affects different people in different ways. For instance, in some people it makes tissue, in others blood, in others bone, in others muscle. In my case it makes brain. In the case of Brother Big, it all goes to his stomach!" Convulsing laughter.

Although this is only the beginning of a much longer story, I will close with an incident that occurred in a community in which I was pastor. One of our members was quite sick. In the yard of her home, an immense hog attracted curious people from far and near. Annoyed by the constant stream of visitors, a member of the family put the following notice in the newspaper: "Mrs. Z. is very ill. Please do not come to see the big hog until she is better."

- Contributed by Pastor Marinus James


email: Michael@N-Spire.com

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