JUST CHECKING IN

A minister passed through his church at noon one summer day.
He waited for a moment to see who would come to pray.
Just then the back door opened, and a man came down the aisle,
The pastor saw a bum who hadn't shaved in quite a while.

His shirt was sort of shabby and his coat was worn and frayed.
The man knelt down, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away.
And every day that followed, each noon time came this chap,
Each time he knelt a moment with a lunch pail in his lap.

The minister's suspicions grew. Was a robbery near?
He stopped the man to ask him, "Why do you come in here?"
The old man said he worked nearby, and lunch was half an hour.
But lunch was also prayer time, for finding strength and power.

"I can only stay a minute, 'cause the plant is far away;
I kneel for just a moment, and this is what I say:

"I just came in to tell you, Lord, how happy I have been,
Since we found each other's friendship and you took away my sin.
I don't know much of how to pray,
But I think about you every day.
So Jesus, this is Jim just checkin' in."

The minister felt foolish and told Jim that sounded fine.
He said that Jim was welcome to come in at any time.
"Time to go," Jim smiled, said "Thanks," and hurried back to work.
The minister approached the Lord. He sure felt like a jerk!
His heart had melted, warmed with love, and he found Jesus there.
His tears flowed down his cheeks as he repeated old Jim's prayer:

"I just came in to tell you, Lord, how happy I have been,
Since we found each other's friendship and you took away my sin.
I don't know much of how to pray,
But I think about you every day.
So Jesus, this is me just checkin' in."

And then one rainy noontime, Jim didn't come to pray.
The minister grew worried as he missed day after day.
The foreman at the factory said Jim was really ill.
The nurses were concerned but said that Jim had been a thrill.

The week that Jim was with them, his smiles were filled with joy.
His happiness contagious, like he owned the newest toy.
The nurses couldn't figure out why Jim did not stay sad.
No flowers, calls or cards came, not a visitor he had.

The minister came to his bed and asked about the smiles.
The nurses said that he had been alone for quite awhile.
Jim looking surprised, then laughed and said, "The nurse just doesn't see.
A dear friend's here at noon each day. He smiles and says to me,

"'I just came in to tell you, Jim, how happy I have been
Since we found this friendship, and I took away your sin.
I always love to hear you pray,
I think about you every day,
And so, Jim, this is Jesus checkin' in.'"

Author Unknown