Five Gas Jets

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 4
Sitting at dinner at a friend's some years ago, another guest next to me told this true story.
In a family of five, four were Christians, father, mother and two daughters— while the fifth was a wild youth, growing wilder and more self-willed and determined every day.
One Sunday his mother asked him to go to the gospel service, as he hadn't been there for a long time. "All right, mother," he said; "I'll go tonight if you never ask me to go again." She stood aghast at his proposition, but then she consulted his father who said, "Agree."
The young man was therefore in for it, and had to face the hardship— for him— of going with the family to the preaching that night; but go he did. He made up his mind, however, that he would not listen to anything that was said from the pulpit, or take part in anything that might be done by the congregation. That being so, he must necessarily take up his attention with something or other so as to keep his mind off what was going on around.
When the service began the young fellow began to count some projecting bricks that formed a sort of dado round the walls of the old hall. Again and again he checked them, to see if the number within his range of vision was correct. Then he reckoned up the small diagonal panes of windows all round. This he did several times.
The chandeliers suspended from the roof were likewise counted. These had a number of small coronas, with five gas jets on each. Over these he went time after time—one, two, three, four, five.
"O, what is that? One not lit up. Yes, there it is, a black one— four shining, and a black one. If I had that old janitor by the ear now, wouldn't I let him have it!" he soliloquized. "He often rides me for my shortcomings."
"Why I smell it too. What a nuisance! The atmosphere will be poisoned. The janitor ought to be severely reprimanded, and I'm the man to do it if I had my hands on him. I expect there would be an explosion before long if gas were allowed to continue to escape. Wouldn't it be a scene to see that old roof going off, and the walls blown out ... what a hullabaloo there would be!"
At that moment the preacher rose and closed the meeting; the people began to leave the hall. The youth had not heard one word. But God had spoken.
Now for the sequel. That night our young man could not sleep a wink. He turned on his right side, then on his left; kicked the blankets off, and pulled them on; tried every conceivable method to woo sleep. But sleep, in the good providence of God, was hid from his eyes that night.
"One, two, three, four lit, and a black one," he kept saying. "Yes, I know that's Dad, Mother, Maggie and Jen; they're lit and I'm not. I won't tell Mother, or she would say I was quite correct. Yes, I remember, the smell was disagreeable; a downright nuisance. Exactly, that's me again; I'm the nuisance in the house, I'm the cause, and the only cause, of everything disagreeable in this family; but for me everything would be pleasant.
"O, yes, I know I'm the black one; I wish I were lit like the others; I do. An explosion in the long run. And so there will be— death, judgment, eternity, the lake of fire. I'd better get lit!"— And he did.
As he knelt in prayer by his bedside, humbled and repentant, before morning the light of the Sun of righteousness dawned on his soul. Thereafter there were five lit in that household. How many are lit in yours?
He had accepted Jesus as his Savior, as the One who had died for him, and he then could seek to have the life of the Lord Jesus manifested in his life, and thus be a light in this dark scene where the Lord Jesus has been cast out.