One morning, it is related, George Washington's secretary came hurrying in to work late. There sat the great man waiting. Much embarrassed, the secretary explained that his watch was slow. Washington made but one brief, forceful comment, "Either you must get a new watch, or I a new secretary!" We may safely conjecture that the secretary, thus rebuked, turned up on time thereafter.
Washington realized that he was "a man under authority;" indeed, he appears to have rarely forgotten it. He was mindful of that fact on the day he and a companion stopped at the house of a poor widow and asked for a meal. (This was before the convenience of restaurants along the way.) Plain food she could give them, she said, but she had no other. Content with her answer, they entered. Later, as they sat at the table, noting the wistful face of the widow's little boy, he asked him what it was he wanted. Now the child had long been wanting a Bible of his very own, but in those days the Book of books cost much more than this poor mother could possibly pay. So in his simplicity the boy told the stranger that he wished very much to have a Bible. His mother, overhearing him, said hurriedly, "Never mind! I will take you to see General Washington some day soon." But the youngster did not seem to be impressed as he replied, "I would rather have a Bible than to go see General Washington!"
This answer apparently pleased one of the strange gentlemen, for he remarked that he hoped the lad would always be as fond of the Bible. Presently they left, the poor widow knowing no more about her guests when they withdrew than she did when they entered. But the next day a package was delivered to her son. It was a beautiful Bible, on the flyleaf of which were written the words, "From GEORGE WASHINGTON"
So the widow and her son, unknown to them, had seen and talked with General Washington. They had not needed to go to him; he had come their way. And now they had for all the days ahead, George Washington's Guide Book, the Book of the living God, Whom the General loved and honored above all others in serving his countrymen.
This reminded me of a sign that I had seen on a roadside many times before stopping to read it. It said, "George Washington came this way!" The words thrilled me as I thought many years ago Washington himself had passed the very way I trod. And I thought, how like God!
He Himself - HIMSELF - came this way, your way - in the Person of His well-beloved and only-begotten Son, a Son Who instantly and always obeyed the will of His Father. He walked the weary ways of a wicked world until He came to an awful Cross on a desolate hill where He died for the sins of the billions who, after His resurrection, were to believe on His Name and confess Him as their Saviour from eternal damnation. Neither late nor early, our Lord Jesus Christ came just "in the nick of time," as it is written, "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly;" while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!
Down through the years of my short span of life God has put many signposts that I have not heeded. There was one that read, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," yet, I plodded on, unseeing, unspeakably weary. There was another which declared, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved," while I, persistently blind, continued to cry, like the poor Philippi jailer, "What must I do to be saved?" In my human weakness I staggered on, long oblivious to the fact that salvation is "not of works, lest any man should boast." And that it is to be found only in Him, Who came this way - your way, my way - "in Whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." "But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us," graciously constrained me to see at last that no matter how far off I am by nature, I am made nigh by the Blood of Christ, Who is my peace, since He bore all my sins and their punishment that I might go free and share His glory forever. Now I thank God that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself - HIMSELF - came this way for me, for you, and for all who trust in His precious Name! Heed His graceful "signs" that dot your daily path and you cannot be led astray!
- Published by Maranatha Baptist Mission, Inc.