People worldwide have a fascination with trains. Every culture and country that has trains has people like me, who, when we see a passing train, whether passenger or freight, are hypnotized and we stare with our eyes glazed and our mouths agape. And as much as we love watching them casually roll or race by like “a freight train”, we are absolutely giddy as they approach. We hear the horn blow in the distance. Down the street we are alerted by the clanging of the warning bells at the railroad crossing. Soon we hear and feel the rumbling of thousands of tons of steel coming closer down the tracks.
My love for trains began when I was a very small child. My grandparents lived in the middle of the block on a street that dead ended into a railroad track. About half a mile to a mile down the track from their street was a railroad crossing. As the train approached that crossing it would begin blowing its horn to warn the cars of its coming. That horn also alerted my brothers and me. Regardless of what we were doing (eating, playing, napping etc) when we heard that horn blow way down the tracks, we dropped whatever it was and sprinted to the end of the block and through a few yards of trees and brush until we were just feet from the track. There we anxiously fidgeted, impatiently waiting for the train to pass. You see, we were so excited because earlier in the day we had placed some pennies on the tracks. In case you’ve never put a penny on a railroad track and you didn’t know, thousands of tons of train going over a penny squishes the penny real flat. And no matter how many pennies you put on the tracks the result is always the same…squished pennies.
There were times my brothers and I didn’t put our pennies on the track. So when we heard the horn blow we raced around in a panic trying to find a penny so we could beat the train to our street. I’m not sure we ever made it. That horn and train were always faster than we were. If we weren’t already prepared when the horn blew we missed our chance to flatten our pennies.
My Bible tells me in 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians that one day a horn will blow and Christ will come to take His children out of this world. It doesn’t say when the horn will sound, just that it will. And I know that if I’m not prepared, I’ll miss it. Being prepared means having placed my faith in Jesus to forgive my sin and reconcile me to God. Have you “placed your penny on the track”?