Working for the Railroad

Jack and Tom were best friends all through school. They played ball together, had adventures together… they were inseparable. When the day came for their graduation from high school, they both went to the railroad office near the place where they lived and filled out job applications. A few days later they were both interviewed and hired, and the following Monday they reported together for their first day of work.

Yes, Jack and Tom were the best of friends.

As time went by, both of the boys married their high school sweethearts and began families, and for some time they remained close friends. One day however, Tom was promoted to a new job in another town, and they saw less and less of each other after that. You know how it is, children come along, family is top priority, but it has to be balanced with your job and other responsibilities, and your youthful friends go their own ways, and before you know it, you’ve pretty much lost track of them. So it was with Jack and Tom.

Jack and Tom had been working for about 35 years when they met once again. Jack was a section boss near his home town. A section boss is an important man, responsible for the safe upkeep and operation of a section of the road. One day, he received notice that the new president of the railroad was coming by to inspect Jack’s section. When the day for the inspection came, a big black limo pulled up at the section house, and the new president got out of the car.

“How have you been Jack?” Tom asked, holding out his hand.

“Pretty fair sir” was Jack’s reply as he shook hands with his old best friend.

They went through the normal process of the inspection without a great deal of conversation. Tom asked a couple of questions, Jack gave a couple of answers and the time came for Tom to be on his way. Just as he was about to get into the car, Jack said, “Hey Tom, can I ask you something?” It was the first time that day that he hadn’t called Tom ‘sir’.

“Sure Jack, what is it?”

“Well, we grew up in the same town together, we were best friends; we even started our jobs together. How on earth did you go all the way up to president of the whole railroad, and I only made it to section boss?”

With the slightest hint of a smile, Tom said, “Jack, when you started here right after we graduated, didn’t you go to work for the paycheck?”

“Well sure I did; I needed a job just like you, Tom.”

“Yeah Jack, I needed a job all right, but you went to work for a paycheck; I went to work for the railroad. It was great to see you again Jack, please give my love to Helen and the kids,” and with that Tom shook Jack’s hand and got into his limo and drove away.

A great many people work for a paycheck, but only a few work for their Company, as any successful business person can attest. As I write this, I wonder if the same phenomenon happens when we accept God’s grace through faith in Christ. Can it be that some people accept God’s grace for salvation and forgiveness of their sins, while others do so to follow Jesus Christ?

I can’t say that I know the answer, but I’ve always wondered about it. Any thoughts?

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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