The Pecan Story

Posted by on Dec 4, 2012 in Family Updates, Ministry Reports, Photo Galleries | 18 comments

It all started so innocently. We were on our way down after completing a wonderful time at the National Bible Bee. God seemed to ordain every step we took. We were dropping off a co-worker and would pick them up again on the way back up North. It was on our way and not an inconvenience at all and to make matters even better, they offered to feed us lunch. No lunch meat for lunch today! We were having a Southern meal of homemade fried chicken, so tender and juicy. Yum! This home was surrounded by beautiful fields of peach orchards, pecan groves, and peanut farms. Totally foreign to me, they explained that they had just gathered the pecan harvest by shaking each tree and then raking them into wind rows to be picked up by the next machine.

Time for a walk

As our lunch and fellowship came to a close, I asked if there was a good place to go for a little walk before completing the remaining six hour’s drive to Florida. The family kindly offered, “We sometimes walk down the highway, but there are no shoulders. You can certainly walk around our yard… or we know our neighbor and he lets us walk in his pecan grove.”

As we went outside the prospect of a walk did not look so inviting, so we headed to the van, bid our hosts goodbye and took off. Just as we pulled out the clouds parted and the sun beamed down. I quickly looked at Priscilla and after rounding the bend decided to pull into the other side of the neatly planted, mature, pecan-tree grove. After walking along the road I felt it was important for us to head back. As we headed back, I saw a few pecans pressed into the mud. I dug one out, brushed it off and cracked it open, only to find the most delicious, lush, buttery pecan I think I had ever tasted. I handed some to Priscilla. I had a little caution about it before doing it, but I quickly brushed it aside. We thought, “Maybe we should dig out just a few and bring them down for Thanksgiving. That would be a nice treat. After all, they already harvested this field so we are just gleaning the field.” I ran to the van and found our paper Bible Bee gift bag.

The law catches up

After only a few minutes the bag was filling nicely. I glanced up and waved as a blue car drove by. I am not sure it registered in my mind that it was a state trooper until I saw his car return only a few minutes later. This time he rolled down his window and called out, “Hey, what are you all doing out there? Who gave you permission to be out there?”

Motioning toward the red house in the distance I explained, “We are traveling through the area and just had lunch with that family over there and they said we could go for a walk out here.” The trooper asked, “Do they own the property?” I replied, “No, but they said they know the owner and he lets them walk in this grove.” The trooper replied, “Well, I just talked to the owner and he told me he does not want anyone out here. You wait right here. He wants to have a word with you.” Oh, boy, was I in for a surprise.

The farmer arrives

A pickup pulled in a short while later and out jumped a plain-clothed officer. He walked over to talk with the other officer while we waited another fifteen minutes. Finally the owner of the property pulled up. As he got out of his pickup he grabbed a slender fiberglass cattle-prod. As he walked briskly towards us he slashed at the grass back and forth as he walked. He was ANGRY!

For what seemed like an eternity he yelled questions at us such as, “What did you think you were doing? Who gave you permission to be out here? Its one thing for me to be chasing people off during the night, but what gave you the nerve to be out stealing in broad daylight!!! I bet you got a Bible in your car back there too! Don’t you realize that is like stealing money out of my wallet?”

Situation gets worse

Obviously this was not the first time people had wronged him. Of course we felt horrible and wanted to do anything needed to make this right. After the landowner had carried on for a time, he turned back and called out to the officers, “You got your deputy on his way out here yet? You better, because they are going to hear gunshots over their heads in a minute.” After a stern warning from the officers, a few more police came on the scene. Each one seemed to do their best to calm down the land-owner by giving us a stern talking to. Finally, the deputy for the area arrived. God so ordained him to be a large jolly officer. Upon getting my license he went over to get my wife’s. When we had heared the threat of gun fire, I asked if she would be permitted to sit in the van. When he went up to get her information his first question was, “How many months are you along?” She burst into tears and held up five fingers. He compassionately said, “You don’t have to get all emotional about it. I think we are just going to write you up a warning not to go on his property again.” She responded, “Yes sir.”

A sticky situation

One of the other tall officers ended up doing the negotiations. He had to give me “a talking to” loud enough that the land owner could hear to try and appease his wrath. Finally, he asked me what I had to say. I explained that I just wanted to take my wife on a little walk, but that I was totally wrong to take pecans. I told him, “I am a born again Christian and no Christian should ever steal. God and I have a good relationship and I had a caution in my spirit not to do that and I did not listen to God’s prompting. I am really sorry, and I would like to offer this guy restitution. I have no clue what the bag of pecans is worth, but I have $100 in cash right here to give him.”

With that the officer told me to come over to talk. The owner was still upset, but had calmed down some. The officer asked him, “Did you take any time to even listen to these kids and what they had to say?” He stared at the ground and shook his head. “Tell him what you told me” the officer stated.

I looked the man square in the eye and said, “Sir, I am a born again Christian and I do have a Bible in that car and this is no way for a Christian to act. I have been a horrible witness of what a Christian ought to be because no Christian ought to steal. I just came from helping out at the National Bible Bee. I have taught character in the public schools of Oklahoma for years. I am headed down right now to do some ministry in a prison. God and I have a great relationship and when He tells me not to do something, I know better, but I disobeyed His prompting. I want you to know that I am very sorry. Here is a token of my apology.” I stuffed the hundred dollars in the top of the bag and began to back away.

The officer repeated it, “Did you hear that? He violated his inner peace and did what was wrong and now is offering you a hundred bucks as restitution.” He straightened up and looked at me and then at the police officer. He said, “No, you keep your money… I don’t want your money.” After a pause he looked back up and said, “No, all I want is one good picture of you and your Mrs. holding that bag of pecans.” I said, “Yes, sir. Anything you want. I have done you wrong.” After he took a picture on his little flip phone I said, “Sir, could you take a picture of us as well? I want to teach my little boy this lesson too.” We shook hands, and the officer gave us our paper-work and we were off. Wow, what a lesson! Someone once said, “There is no sin known to man that the human mind cannot rationalize away.” I had so many ways to rationalize this at the moment, such as: “We were gleaning the waste from the harvest, our friends know the owners, the pecans are going to just go to waste sitting in the mud, in blue-berry fields of Florida, we have a friend who lets us glean hundreds of pounds of blue berries.” However, it is never worth it to rationalize wrong-doing.

As we drove down the road, I asked God, “Father, why did you allow that to happen?” The answer came just two days later when we went to the Prison and shared this story. It was the day before Thanksgiving and many of the ladies were really missing their families. This story really hit home because of some recent situations that the ladies had encountered. We encouraged them to always listen to the prompting of God’s Spirit.

18 Comments

  1. What a story! I am glad you guys didn’t get in anymore trouble than you did. I can only imagine how Priscilla felt. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story!

  2. More, More, More. What a testimony. Praise God you handled it so well. Can’t wait to hear the rest. God is AWESOME!

  3. What a great testimony! Thank you both for sharing your experience and example of humility with us all. I can’t wait to hear more!

    In Christ,
    Natasha

  4. Thank you for sharing. The your story highlights the importance of always keeping Exodus 20:15 in one’s heart.

  5. God has shown great mercy in this situation because the property owner could have shot first and asked questions later. However, staying humble in this situation is really a testament of God’s character that he entrusted in you. Please be safe and listen carefully when the Holy Spirit is sending a warning.

  6. WOW!! Awesome story! God can take any situation and bring good from it. Even though, initially, you thought your witness was ruined, I think God used it to teach all of us something. First, the Lord’s prompting isn’t something to be taken lightly. Second, when we have made a poor choice and wronged someone, be honest and offer sincere apologies. I wonder how previous offenders have treated this man when they were confronted. I wonder how many of them admitted their transgression, asked for forgiveness, and offered restitution. Maybe that was the source of his anger. We are ALL guilty of this very thing. Seeing how you handled the situation inspired me. The next time I find myself in a similar position (and I’m sure I will), I will think of you. Instead of getting defensive or offering excuses, I hope I will humbly admit my wrong-doing and ask for forgiveness. God is going to use your experience to teach countless others about humility and listening to the Lord’s voice. In the end, you showed that man what a true Christian witness is. Thanks for sharing!!

  7. Where did this happen? The police officer’s truck looks like it is in the desert!

    • Good observation! It actually is just a wikipedia photo that was in public domain.

  8. Oh dear! I am so glad you maintained your humility and aplogized for doing wrong. Poor Priscilla!!! It will be quite a story to share with your son in the future. It shows a great deal of Godly character, David, to admit you were wrong and to apologiz to both God, for not listening, and to the farmer, for stealing. You will make an excellent father in just a few months. I am employed in the law enforcement here in California’s “Salad Bowl”, and it can be grand theft to steal from an agricultural development. Just something to keep in mind for any future walks!

  9. I’m glad your all okay. Wow… poor Priscilla, that must have been terrifying! All this over a measly bag of nuts when he had a whole field full of them? wow, what good examples you are!

    • We certainly do not feel like we are good examples, but I am grateful for the mercy of the Lord and His ministers of the law.

  10. Where does your co-worker live? Sounds like a lovely area.:)You all are lucky you only got let off with a warning.

    • Georgia is a wonderful place! It was not too far from Macon.

  11. So did the family who told you it was okay to walk in that area know the owner or did they just say it was okay to do it when it wasn’t? did they ever walk in the property? How was taking something that was already fallen or to the ground stealing when you didn’t take it of a tree if it was already on the ground? Thanks for sharing your stories, i’m always looking forward to hearing about them and learning in the progress. can’t wait to hear the rest.

    • by the way did the other family know about what happen to you guys? did they ever come out when they saw what happend? did they care at all? sorry i have so many qustions as to what happen because it seems weird to me that after this family told you that they knew the owners and that it was okay if you went to walk in that area for this to have happen to you guys.

      • We did tell the story later, and the family was very surprised to hear what happened, but also knew that the neighbor was given to a quick tongue and hot temper.

        • oh wow, im sorry to hear that. so i wonder how was the family surprised if they knew that the neighor had a quick tongue and a hot temper. I guess you just never get to know people as well as you think. But at least everything turned out good you guys not only learn a lesson but also are teaching others one to and the guy ended up finding out that not everyone is evel. thanks for your reply. and i look forword to hearing and getting any insight or anything i could learn from you guys. keep up the great work you guys are doing. and thank you for being good role models to everyone. in this day and age is people like you guys who show people the word of God that we need in the spotlight. everything is changing and sometimes i dont think for the better. we need to stand together and bring in the peace. thanks again.

  12. Actually you guys are… the honesty in this post and transparency to admit you did wrong is setting forth a very good example. That, on top of the way both of you handled it –it was a great example of humility and showing the love of God in a difficult situation. I know you would never want to admit you all are good examples, but you guys are. And I’m grateful to you both for allowing God to work through you to reach the hearts of others.

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