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THE GOSPEL OF THE OLD COUPLE WHO WHO TOOK THE LANDLORD AT HIS WORD
Sean Mac Quaid was a rich landlord who had a huge estate. It could truly be said that as he looked out from his manor house that he was Lord of all he saw. Across the county meadows to the distant rolling hills were farms that he owned and villages that owed him their living and paid him rent.
Sean became a believer in Jesus Christ and was devoted to preaching the Gospel in his own personal way. He would speak of the salvation he found in Christ to anyone who he met. He often found creative and practical ways to illustrate the gospel.
One day he placed an advert in the local paper saying that on a particular day he would be in his office from ten o'clock in the morning until the stroke of noon, and that during those two hours he would pay off all the debts of anyone who brought him their mortgages and bills of debt.
The entire county was abuzz over the notice, and it was talked about in the pubs, the markets, and on every street. Some declared it was a joke, and others put forth that it was some trick, and that Mr. Mac Quaid was going to turn the misfortune of others to his advantage. A few in the town pub decided that he had gone mad and this offer would come to nothing.
On the appointed day many people took the lane to the landlord's town office carrying their bills of debt and unpaid mortgages in their hands. They gathered on the cobbled drive in front of the big double doors. Exactly at ten Mr. Mac Quaid and his assistant arrived chauffeured in the black sedan. They said not a word of greeting to any as they mounted the steps and entered the office.
The crowd began to discuss this strange behavior and what it might mean. Doubts filled the crowd. Is the offer valid? Did Mr. Mac Quaid truly mean what the article said? No one had the courage to enter the door and find out for fear that they may be made a fool of or find themselves in some bad way with the rich landlord.
"Mike, why don't you go in and have your daughter's doctor's bills paid."
"No. You go in first you have a bigger bill than I do, and if he is good on his word you come and tell us so we will know to go in too."
"No, let someone with more debt be first."
"I don't want to be first. What if it is some mischief? I can't afford more bad luck."
The time passed as they discussed and argued among themselves.
It was nearly twelve o'clock when an aged couple who lived on the edge of the county slowly hobbled up the lane. The old man had in his shaking hand a wad of bills and debts. "Is it true? Is Mr. Mac Quaid really paying off the debts of any who come to him?"
"Well, he hasn't paid off any yet." A grouchy voice from the crowd called.
"We all are sure it is a cruel jest at our expense." A woman said.
The old couple sniffed and whipped tears. "Oh, it is all a mistake then. We hoped he was a good man and that his word was good. We had hoped to die free of debt." With slumped shoulders they turned sadly away from the crowd and the office of the landlord.
"Wait! Don't leave." Someone called after them. "No one has tried him yet. Suppose you go on in and try him. If he pays off your bills then come out and tell the rest of us so we will know to go in too."
The old couple decided to give it a try. Fearfully they approached the office and climbed the steps. They were barely able to open the massive door. Inside seemed dark after the noonday sun.
"Welcome. Please come on in." The assistant greeted them warmly. "Have a seat here at my desk and show me your bills."
With frail hands he passed the papers across the desk where the landlord was sitting. "Is this all?" Mr. Mac Quaid asked, "Nothing overlooked or forgotten?"
"Yes sir, that is everything." she whispered.
Without further comment, the assistant opened the drawer of the desk and pulled out the big checkbook. A moment later the check was written for the entire amount and signed by Mr. Mac Quaid.
The old couple began to get up but the assistant said, "I'm sorry you must remain here until twelve noon."
"But sir, we have to go out and tell the others what a kind thing you have done; so they will know to come in too."
Sean Mac Quaid leaned forward on his desk and folded his hands. "No, you are not to tell them. You took me at my word, now your debts are paid. If the others had believed me, and taken me at my word then their debts would be paid too."
The crowd outside watched and waited, wondering at the delay. Their eyes were fixed on the closed doors. The minutes passed slowly by yet they all remained outside.
The clock in the town church began to chime twelve as the door opened. The old man and his wife came out. "What happened? Did the landlord keep his word?" They asked.
"Bless him." They said with tears of joy, "Here is the check, our debts are all pad off."
"Why didn't you come out and tell us?"
"He said that you had to come as we did and take him at his word."
As the clock struck the twelfth stroke the door opened. The landlord came down the steps to his car. The desperate people crowded around him. They held out their bills for him to see. "Wait! Don't go. Won't you pay our debts just like you did for the old couple?"
The landlord said, "It is too late now. I gave you the opportunity. I gave the invitation, but you did not believe me. If you had believed me I would have paid off every debt for you."
Then Mr. Mac Quaid explained to the crowd how God has an offer of payment for all debts of sins for those who will come to him, but that we must take God at His word and come.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.
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