I am glad to say that I was greatly influenced by radio legend Paul Harvey for more than 20 years of my life. In my opinion, Paul Harvey was the greatest radio newscaster and commentator of the 20th century. His daily broadcasts were the top three broadcasts for many years. He received numerous awards in his lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award. Everyone knew that Paul Harvey was a patriot who loved America, and most knew that he was a Bible-believing Christian, as was evidenced by his holiday broadcasts. Though Paul Harvey was silenced by the grave in 2009, many of us can still hear his voice as we read his favorite Easter story once again.
A Boston preacher, Dr. S.D. Gordon, placed a beatup, bent, rusted old birdcage beside his pulpit when he told this story….An unkempt, unwashed little lad about 10 years old was coming up the alley swinging this old caved-in birdcage with several tiny birds shivering on the floor of it. The compassionate Dr. Gordon asked the boy where he got the birds. He said he trapped them. Dr. Gordon asked what he was going to do with them. The boy said he was going to play with them and have fun with them. The preacher said, “Sooner or later you’ll get tired of them. Then what are you going to do with them?” The lad said, “I have some cats at home. They like birds. I’ll feed them to my cats.” Dr. Gordon said, “Son, how much do you want for the birds?” The boy, surprised, hesitated and said, “Mister, you don’t want these birds. They’re just plain old field birds. They can’t even sing. They’re ugly.” The preacher said, “Just tell me. How much do you want?” The grubby little lad thought about it. He squinted up one eye. He calculated and hesitated and said, “Two dollars?” To the boy’s surprise, Dr. Gordon reached into his pocket and handed the boy two one-dollar bills. The preacher took the cage. The boy, in a wink, hurried up the alley. In a sheltered crevice between buildings, Dr. Gordon opened the door of the cage, and, tapping on the rusty exterior, he encouraged the little birds, one at a time, to find their way out through the narrow door and fly away.
Thus having accounted for the empty birdcage beside his pulpit, the preacher went on to tell what seemed, at first, like a separate story. Once upon a time, Jesus and the Devil had engaged in a negotiation. Satan had boasted how he’d baited a trap in Eden’s garden and caught himself a world full of people. “What are you going to do with all those people in your cage?” Jesus wanted to know. The Devil said, “I’m going to play with ’em, tease ’em. Make them marry and divorce and fight and kill one another. I’m going to teach them to throw bombs on one another. I’m going to have fun with them!” Jesus said, “You can’t have fun with them forever. When you get tired of playing, what are you going to do with them?” Satan said, “Damn them! They’re no good anyway! Damn them! Kill them!” Jesus said, “How much do you want for them?” Satan said, “You can’t be serious! If I sell them to you, they’ll just spit on you. They’ll hate you. They’ll hit you and beat you. They’ll hammer nails into you! They’re no good.” Jesus said, “How much?” Satan said, “All of your tears and all of your blood. That’s the price.” Jesus took the cage, and paid the price, and opened the door.
Yes, all of us who truly believe on Jesus Christ for our salvation are truly free. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32.
Author: Scott Wendal
Scott Wendal is the founding and lead Pastor of Valley Forge Baptist in Collegeville, PA. He attained his Bachelor of Arts degree at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, in 1981. After completing a three-year internship in Fairfax, Virginia, Pastor Wendal came to the Valley Forge area in July 1984 to begin Valley Forge Baptist. Pastor Wendal and his wife, Jodie, have five children.