It was so embarrassing! The queue was quite long; the diesel was in the car. Out came the wallet. The wallet was opened. No card. Or rather, the wallet was full of cards, but not THE card - the one I needed for payment. There were all sorts of other cards which, for purposes of payment, were useless. Not valid. Membership of the Vulcan to the Sky Club; Teacher's Theatre Preview Club; library card; swimming pool card. There may have even been an old rail ticket and possibly a receipt.
As I stood there waiting for the floor to swallow me up and waiting for the faint murmur of frustration from the innocent, card carrying, cash carrying people behind, I tried to put together a reason why I couldn't pay. None came! Limply I stumbled out some words that loosely meant I would park the car at the garage and summon help. I felt totally impotent as I went out the door head lowered so as not to make eye contact with a queue of honest people.
Parking the car in a position that would not block all traffic, I frantically tried to think of where that pesky card might be. I was well and truly stumped. I left the door of the car open as I sat in the seat, aware that the cashier was watching me out of the window, perhaps thinking I might do a runner! I felt like one stupid boy!
I started to pray. Who could I ask to pay a £48 fuel bill, in the words of Tommy Cooper: 'Just like that!' I rang our neighbour; She had just arrived at work. Half an hour earlier she could have helped, she said. After several minutes I thought of another friend. I was about to dial when my neighbour rang back. She had got release from work and would be with me in half an hour. Half an hour in which to look innocent - and honest!. How do you look honest, guv?
So, thirty minutes later, thanks to the kindness of my neighbour who popped her wonderful working card into the machine and saved my bacon, I was able to pursue the hunt for the card. It turned out I had left it in a machine in a large department store whilst buying a present.
The moral of the story? One day we will all stand before the Lord. A payment will have been needed to enter Heaven. No wallets; no cards. Just our heart decision will be all that is necessary. Have we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour? If we answer positively it will allow us to enjoy His presence forever and the endless wonders of Heaven. He is still the friend of sinners, the One who is always there in an emergency. The One who rescues. No embarrasment for us, just deep joy and thankfulness. His precious Blood has been the payment. Bless the Name of the Lord.