Some years ago, on a cold, grey morning, the captain of a ship was making his way down the street to go on board, when he noticed a poorly dressed, hungry-looking lad standing in front of a fine restaurant window.
The captain placed his hand gently on the boy’s shoulder and asked, “What are you doing here, lad?”
With a hopeful gaze, the boy replied, “Sir, I was just standing here looking at the good things to eat in there.”
“Well,” said the captain, “I have but thirty minutes to spare before my ship leaves, and if you had on good clothes, a clean face, and your hair was combed, I could take you inside for something to eat.”
“I AM READY NOW, SIR!”
The boy, with his eyes upon the captain and hope in heart, brushed his hair with his hands and said, “I am ready now, sir!”
The captain replied, “Well, God bless you; come with me into the restaurant and we shall see what you can eat.”
As the lad began to eat the food placed before him, the captain asked, “Where is your mother, my boy?”
“Mother died when I was about four years old,” he replied.
“Where is your father?”
“I haven’t seen father, sir, since mother died.”
“And who takes care of you?” inquired the captain.
With calm resignation, the lad said: “When mother was ill, just before she died, she told me that Jesus would take care of me; for she taught me the love of God and how to pray.”
The captain with a heart of kindly interest said, “I have just a few minutes before my ship leaves, and if you were ready with a clean face, I would take you on board the ship and you could learn to be a waiter and a cabin boy.”
“Captain, I am ready now.”
The lad looked up into the captain’s face and said, “Captain, I am ready now.”
Together they hurried to the ship and the captain introduced him to his men saying; “He is to be the new cabin boy, and his name is, ‘Ready Now.’”
He “scrubbed up” well, and after the captain had given him a new blue suit of clothes, in no time he soon learned to serve as a waiter most faithfully, especially upon the captain.
The captain valued him dearly and treated him well, but shortly after he had been on board, he fell ill. One day he said to the captain: “I feel so unwell and have awful pains in my chest. Captain, please keep me even though I am ill.” The kind-hearted man made him rest and he soon fell asleep. The captain had him carried carefully to his own berth, so that he could personally attend to his condition.
“PLEASE SAVE HIM; FOR I CANNOT GIVE HIM UP.”
Several days later the ship’s doctor said to the captain, “I have done all I can for the child; he is seriously ill and does not have long to live.”
“Doctor,” said the Captain, “Please save him; for I cannot give him up.”
But the lad’s condition continued to worsen.
Then one day the boy called for the captain to come, and as the master of the ship looked upon his young face, he saw that death was very near.
The lad, in a very weakened voice, said: “Captain, I do love and thank God for you, for you have been so good to me. But captain I am going to leave you; I am going to where Jesus and Mother are. Captain, I know I will see my dear mother, for she said she would be looking out for me, and I will see the angels also. I know that I am going to be with Jesus!
Captain, won’t you believe on Jesus also? Meet me in heaven, captain, Jesus loves you for He died for all sinners. Won’t you let Him save you and be with us also?”
With deep emotion, and trembling voice the captain replied, “I have been thinking about it, my boy. I will attend to it soon.”
“But when?” he was asked.
“When will you be ready to belong to Jesus?”
“Well, I will not put it off much longer.”
AS A FAITHFUL LITTLE WITNESS AND WORKER
“Captain, why not let Jesus be your Saviour now? When will you be ready?”
With tears upon his cheeks, the captain fell upon his knees and cried, “I am ready now -‘Ready Now.’” And there on his knees with a broken and contrite heart, he surrendered to God and believed in Jesus as his own personal Saviour.
Shortly afterwards some of the officers came to the captain’s cabin and found him kneeling in prayer. Little arms were around his neck in death’s embrace. The spirit had returned to God Who gave it, but he had pleaded with the captain to the end as a faithful little witness and worker, and had won the captain’s heart to Christ.
Dear reader, are you a Christian? Do you know the love of Jesus as this little one did?
Are you ready to meet God?
Do you know Jesus as your personal Saviour, He Who died on the cross of Calvary for all?
If not, I beg you to be ready and be able to say, “I am ready now.” Have you yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour?
“Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation. ( 2 Corinthians 6:2 )
Dear friend, there is no need for you to comb your hair, dress better or clean your face, for you cannot improve yourself for God. He knows all about you and loves you just the same. He has paid the full price of redemption for you and now you may trust Him for time and eternity.
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name. ” John 1:12
ARE YOU READY NOW ?
Edited by- C.B.R.
THE GOSPEL WITNESS Number 12
Acknowledgment: © CHRISTIAN BOOK ROOM
P.O. Box 95413, T.S.T., Kowloon, Hong Kong, SAR of China.
Photo by Franco Ho