In the Name of Christ

kenneth cope - FaceToFace-cover

The late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, an exceptionally influential Christian, once told of an experience in his youth as follows:

One Christmas Eve when I was 12, I was out with my minister father doing some late Christmas shopping. We were both loaded down with packages and I was getting tired of it and a bit cross. I was thinking how good it would be to get home, when a beggar—a bleary-eyed, unshaven, dirty old man—came up to me, touched my arm with a hand like a claw, and asked for money. He was so repulsive that instinctively I recoiled. Softly my father said:

“Norman, it’s Christmas Eve. You shouldn’t treat a man that way.”

I was unrepentant. “Dad,” I complained, “he’s nothing but a bum.”

My father spoke strongly. “Maybe he hasn’t made much of himself, but he’s still a child of God.” He then handed me a dollar—a lot of money for those days and certainly for a preacher’s income. “I want you to take this and give it to that man,” he said. “Speak to him respectfully. Tell him you are giving it to him in Christ’s name.”

“Oh Dad,” I protested, “I can’t do anything like that.”

My father’s voice was firm. “Go and do as I tell you.”

So, reluctant and resisting, I ran after the old man and said, “Excuse me, sir. I give you this money in the name of Christ.”

He stared at the dollar bill, then looked at me in utter amazement. A wonderful smile came to his face, a smile so full of life and beauty that I forgot that he was dirty and unshaven. I forgot that he was ragged and old. With a gesture that was almost courtly, he took off his hat. Graciously he said, “And I thank you, young sir, in the name of Christ.”

(“It Happened on a Cincinnati Street”, Success Unlimited, [Chicago: Success Unlimited, Inc., December 1977], Vol. 24, No. 12.)

10 Responses to In the Name of Christ

  1. laurel lund

    I love this story, there are so many messages, kindness, worthiness, obedience, respect, brotherhood, humility, and the spirit of Christmas.

  2. Christie Allred

    A beautiful story……filled with so much unconditional love. Love from the heart not from the eyes… Thank you for your Christmas gift of sharing Brother Kenneth. From Christie in Texas

  3. Tammie

    I like that story :) In a few words it shows how we should look beyond the outer appearance of others and look at the inside self of others and individually. As the words say “in the name of Christ.” See others as he would see them. Thanks for the reminder.

    • That is a great blessing from God…to be able to see as He sees…and it must be given by Him. We can try to have this view, and it is important to try…but when He touches us and opens our eyes, we are different because He has made us so. Thanks, Tammie!

  4. Steve


    Thank you so much for posting this! I am on the road to visit my dying mother. It is a long drive, and I have not showered or shaved in two days. As I read this story, I saw myself in the old man. Not just because I may look like the gentleman in the story, but also because this story reminds me that we are ALL beggars…in need of the Savior and his mercy. I find myself “begging” more fervently!

    Thanks again!


    • Oh, Steve! Your message touched me so much. Great blessings to you as you meet with your dying mother and give her some comfort in her final days and hours.
      And yes, we are ALL beggars… sometimes we are the father in the story, sometimes we are the boy…but we are ALWAYS the old man! Thanks for this lovely insight! :)

  5. Lynda

    I am a bit ashamed to say I am just now getting a chance to read your messages. Once again I got a little crazy with the homemade gifts for grandchildren and literally went 86 hours with only a combined 7 hours of sleep…so didn’t have a chance to read until now.

    Thank you for this great story. What a great reminder and exmple of how we should view and minister to each of our Father’s precious children.

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