Old Hundred?s Heart Trouble

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 4
"Have "Have you any pills for heart trouble?" asked Ah Kung, or Old Hundred, as he was generally called.
The Bible reader in the Chinese street chapel looked up as the old man came in. "Does your heart pain you?" he asked.
"No," Old Hundred answered. "It doesn't pain." "Does it jump? Or beat irregularly?" he questioned. "No," sighed the old man, "not exactly."
The Christian was puzzled. He was not a doctor and had no pills of any kind. Still, he was eager to help the old man and to know more about this peculiar heart trouble. He asked, "How does it feel?"
"Like lead," groaned the old man. "It feels like lead in here," pointing to his heart. "I have no peace in here."
"Oh, we do have a remedy for that kind of heart trouble. But it is not medicine to eat with your mouth. It is something to read." He reached for a small, red, paper-covered copy of the gospel of John. "Take this little book with you," he said, "and read it every day. Then your heart will get better."
"I can read!" exclaimed the old man joyfully, and his quivering fingers clutched the little booklet. "I will follow your directions and read it every day."
That night Ah Kung sat by the flickering light of his oil lamp. His big spectacles were balanced across his nose as he began to read the book. The next day people on the street passing by his house saw the old man intently reading down one page and then another. Every day he was seen reading the little red-covered book.
A week passed. Ah Kung still had the ache in his heart. It was just as heavy as ever, in spite of his faithfully reading the written remedy every day "as directed."
"Maybe this medicine isn't right for my kind of heart trouble," he thought. Taking his cane, he plodded back to the chapel.
"I read the book," he said sadly as he handed it back. "It is not for me. My heart sickness is no better."
Drawing a chair close to him, the Christian said, "Old Hundred (an honorable term to the Chinese for an aged man), you are like a man who lived in Ethiopia years ago. He read the book, but did not understand. Now listen. I will explain to you how this remedy will help you and heal your heart sickness. Your heart trouble is a disease that is common to all mankind. If you get rid of your sins, your heart will be alright."
"How can I get rid of my sins? Have I not been trying to do this for many years? How many offerings have I made to long rows of countless idols in the temple!"
The Christian began telling the old man the story of Jesus, who came to take away the sin of the world. He first told him about the Creator. Pointing to the trees outside, he asked, "Have you seen the trees, the grass, the flowers growing all around us?"
Old Hundred nodded his head approvingly, and cupped his ears to hear more.
"The true God made these for us," the Christian went on. "He gives us many things to enjoy. In spite of the goodness of the great God, man rebelled against Him. Then one day God sent His very best gift to the world—His own Son, Jesus. He came as a little baby, and was born in a manger. He was poor for our sakes, so that poor people would know how much He loved us."
He continued telling him the story of Jesus: "Finally, Jesus was nailed to the cross and died so that our sins and the sins of the whole world could be forgiven."
"And did He die for me, too?" asked the old man. "Does it say so in the book?"
"Yes. Listen to this: 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever [that is, Ah Kung] believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'"
"Let me see!" cried the old man, putting on his spectacles. "Is my name there?"
The Christian explained the meaning of the word "whosoever." "It means you, me, or anybody else," he explained.
"I'm whosoever," cried Ah Kung, grasping the truth. "I believe it, and—" he placed his hand over his heart and exclaimed, "it feels better in here too. The written remedy does work!"