Matthew 7:7-11; 9:27-30; 1 John 5:14-15
The ad seemed too good to be true.
“Hey, Dad!” Toby King looked up from the computer with a look of disbelief after seeing an ad for a free bike. “Listen to this! ‘Man’s bicycle free to eligible person, 438 Juniper Lane.’ That’s all it says. Boy! I sure would like to have a bike.”
Mr. King carefully guided his wheelchair into the living room, smiling at his son’s exuberance. “I would like you to have a bike too, Son. Wish I could buy one for you.”
Toby hardly heard his father’s reply. He was thinking, I wonder what the catch is. It’s probably just an old bike they want to get rid of. Even so, it would sure be neat to have a bike when I start junior high this fall. Looking at the address in the ad again, he said to his father, “I think I’ll go over there—it’s not too far to walk. Someone may already have gotten it, but at least I’ll have satisfied my curiosity.”
With a motion of his hand, Toby’s father gave his permission, and Toby dashed out the door. He started briskly in the direction of Juniper Lane. As he got closer to the address he began to slow down. I don’t know why I came, he thought. I’m sure the bike isn’t any good. And if it is, someone else probably already has it. Even if it’s still there they might not give it to me. After all, I’m just a kid.
Toby approached a group of people standing on the sidewalk talking. His heart sank when he saw that they were standing in front of the house where the bike was supposed to be. Someone else must have gotten the bike already, he thought. There’s no use going further. Just as he was turning to go back home one young man called to him.
“Hey, Kid. Are you coming to ask about the bike?” Toby nodded slightly, not trusting himself to speak. “Well, maybe you can get some results from that guy. He won’t give the bike to me because I have a job and could pay for one. He won’t give it to that guy over there because he already has a bike. His is old, but it works. That kid doesn’t qualify because his folks could afford to buy him one. Gavin here thought he had him talked into it. But then the guy asked if he really thought he’d give the bike to him. All Gavin said was, ‘Seeing is believing,’ and he comes back with, ‘That’s not the answer I’m looking for. I’m afraid you don’t qualify.’” The young man paused shaking his head, “Why don’t you give it a try?”
At that moment Toby felt like running away, but he thought, I’ve come this far, I might as well give it a try. Slowly he walked up to the front door and rang the doorbell. A man about his father’s age answered the door. “Can I help you, Son?” he asked pleasantly.
Toby swallowed hard. “I’ve come to ask about the bike you advertised.”
“How old are you?”
“Twelve, Sir. I start junior high this fall.”
Toby thought the man suddenly looked sad.
But the look disappeared as he asked, “Do you have a bike already?”
“Why don’t you have one?”
It was Toby’s turn to look sad. “My dad’s too sick to work. He hasn’t been able to work for three years. Mom works, and I do yard work, but there’s not enough money to buy a bike.”
The man looked at him for a moment. “What’s your name, Son?”
“Well, Toby, would you believe me if I said I would give you that bike?”
Toby smiled broadly. “Yes, Sir! If you say so.”
The man opened the door and came out to the porch. “My name is Tim Larsen, Toby. Come with me. I’ll show you the bike.” Together they walked to the garage and entered the side door. There was the bike, an awesome BMX bike! Mr. Larson stood for a moment as if lost in thought. Then he said, “Toby, this was my son’s bike. He rode it only a few times. Then he became very sick, and a year ago he died. My wife and I decided we would give the bike to a boy about Tommy’s age. But that boy had to be someone who couldn’t afford to buy a bike for himself. He also had to be a boy who would believe I really would give the bike to him. Toby, you now have a new bike. Take it, and God bless you.”
Even in his excitement Toby remembered to say, “Thanks a whole lot, Mr. Larsen. I really appreciate it!” Then he hopped on the bike, and waving to the astonished group on the sidewalk, rode rapidly toward home. Hooray! he thought. I can’t wait to show Mom and Dad!
Carefully parking the bike near the front window, Toby raced into the living room where his father still sat in his wheelchair, now looking admiringly at the new bike. “Isn’t it a beauty, Dad? And it really was free!” Quickly Toby told his father what had happened. “One thing I don’t understand, though, Dad. Why was it so important for me to believe he would give it to me?”
Mr. King replied thoughtfully. “Perhaps he wanted you to know how important faith is, Toby. In this case you believed Mr. Larsen’s word. But if you apply that same rule to your spiritual life, you’ll remember to have faith in what God says. When you ask Him for something, and truly believe that He will give it, you will receive an answer.”
Toby listened to his dad intently, then nodded his head. “I’m not sure that was what Mr. Larsen had in mind, but it’s a sure thing I’ll think about that when I ride my new bike!”