Favorite

Jennings Osborne and the eye of the needle 

His worldly possessions went under the hammer last week. The collection of a lifetime, scattered to the winds.

Page 8 of 8

One night, he and Osborne were in the process of getting several hundred chickens ready to go into the smoker when they started to chat about God. Being a preacher as well as a barbecue cook, Bear proceeded to tell Osborne about his personal walk with Jesus, and impressed upon him the need to be saved.

"I know, Bear," Osborne said, surveying the big tables full of gutted hens. "I just hope that when I get to heaven, God is not a chicken."

After we all got through laughing at that — the image of Jennings Osborne standing guiltily before an enormous, scowling rooster clothed in light — I asked them if they thought God worked His will through Jennings Osborne. They said they know He did.

"He taught us humility," Shretta said. "He taught us that things weren't everything, and that if you're not making a difference in someone else's life, then what are you doing? ... I believe God put on shoes and came down and showed us, in the form of a man, how to give love unconditionally."

Shretta Morris thought awhile, then began to speak of Matthew 19:24, the passage in which Jesus told his followers it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven — how maybe Jesus was really talking about something other than St. Peter turning away a man like Osborne.

She didn't get it all quite right as I have heard it, but I knew what she was talking about: the idea that the verse is actually a parable; that in Jesus' day, there was a low, narrow gate in Jerusalem called "The Eye of the Needle," and in order to enter the city, camels laden with treasures after their journey across the desert had to be divested of their riches in order to slip through. For a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, the idea went, he had to be stripped of his finery — to come as naked to The Lord as when he had been sent into this world.

As Shretta Morris spoke of wealth beyond this place, the auctioneers inside the warehouse and out of our earshot rolled on and on in their quick, sing-song rhythm, paring away — lot by lot, thing by thing, treasure by treasure — the vast burden of riches from the ghost of Jennings Osborne.

"I believe," Shretta said, smiling, "that rich man is in heaven now."

Look for a slideshow from the auctions on Wednesday morning.

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by David Koon

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in Cover Stories

  • Vive la resistance!

    House Minority Leader Michael John Gray wants to chair the Democratic Party of Arkansas. His plan to lead the party back to relevance: Start listening to Arkansas again.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • A new day for child welfare?

    After strategizing for months, DHS officials have a plan to address Arkansas's foster care crisis.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • Jeff Nichols, 'Loving' and the space in between

    The Little Rock native turns to an unheralded chapter of the civil rights era with his new film.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation