Aaron and the Gang
Aaron was a young man in Chicago. He was praying for God to really use him in some church organization for His Glory. Nothing happened. Summer arrived, so after waiting, he took a job driving a bus on the southside of Chicago. After learning the route, he was on his own—a rookie driver in a dangerous section of the city. It wasn’t long before Aaron realized just how dangerous his job really was.
A small gang of tough kids spotted the young driver, and began to take advantage of him. For several mornings in a row they got on, walked right past him without paying, ignored his warnings, and rode until they decided to get off.… all the while making smart remarks to him and others on the bus. Finally, he decided it had gone on long enough.
The next morning, after the gang got on as usual, Aaron saw a policeman on the next corner, so he pulled over and reported the offense. The officer told them to pay or get off. They paid but, unfortunately, the policeman got off. And they stayed on. When the bus turned another corner or two, the gang assaulted the young driver.
When he came to, blood was all over his shirt, two teeth were missing, both eyes were swollen, his money was gone, and the bus was empty. After returning to the terminal and being given the weekend off, our friend went to his little apartment, sank onto his bed and stared at the ceiling in disbelief. Resentful thoughts swarmed his mind. Confusion, anger, and disillusionment added fuel to the fire of his physical pain. He spent a fitful night wrestling with the Lord.
How can this be? Where’s God in all of this? I genuinely want to serve Him. I prayed for a ministry. I was willing to serve Him anywhere, doing anything, and this is the thanks I get!
The matter went to court. Even though Aaron felt resentment, God began to change his heart. Under the Spirit’s control he came to no longer hated them—he pitied them. They needed help, not more hate. But what could he do?
At the trial after there was a plea of guilty, Aaron (to the surprise of his attorney and everybody else in the courtroom) stood to his feet and requested permission to speak.
“Your honor, I would like you to total up all the days of punishment against these men—all the time sentenced against them—and I request that you allow me to go to jail in their place.”
The judge didn’t know whether to spit or wind his watch. Both attorneys were stunned. As Aaron looked over at the gang members (whose mouths and eyes looked like saucers), he smiled and said quietly, “It’s because I forgive you.”
The dumbfounded judge, when he reached a level of composure, said rather firmly: “Young man, you’re out of order. This sort of thing has never been done before!” To which the young man replied with genius insight:
“Oh, yes, it has, your honor … yes, it has. It happened over nineteen centuries ago when a man from Galilee paid the penalty that all mankind deserved.”
And then, for the next three or four minutes, without interruption, he explained how Jesus Christ died on our behalf, thereby proving God’s love and forgiveness.
He was not granted his request, but the young man visited the gang members in jail, led most of them to faith in Christ, and began a significant ministry to many others in southside Chicago.
Now Aaron was a dangerous worshiper! O how we need them! And I know what you may be thinking. You may be thinking, “That’s great for Aaron, Rusty, but I just don’t think I could do that. I don’t know if I am capable of this kind of warfare.”