Who Rang the Bell for Dick Whittington?

Who Rang the Bell for Dick Whittington?

"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men."—Gal. 6:10

Do you know the story of Dick Whittinton, three times Lord Mayor of London, who died about the year 1423? He died extremely wealthy, having been in charge of the finances for the building of Westminster Abbey, and left his large fortune to many charitable organizations.

Three times he served his city as one of its greatest mayors. Although he was born the son of a knight and was well to do from the start, a curious legend later grew around his name which is even more interesting than the real story of this man, for it has fascinated people more than the true facts.

According to this legend, first put into writing in a play nearly two hundred years after Whittington's death, he was a poor orphan boy who made his living by washing pots and pans in a rich man's kitchen.

So discouraged was he that he started to flee from London and seek his fortune elsewhere. On the edge of the heard church bells ringing. He stopped to listen. Somehow they seemed to call his name. He listened further. They seemed to say something to him. What were the words he thought they said? "Turn again, Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London town." Again and again they repeated the message.                                                                             

"Well," said the discouraged boy, "if that's true, then I'll return to my old home and job."

Just how he became rich and famous because of a cat is a story I want you to read for yourself.

What I want to know is this: Who rang the bell for Dick Whittington?

Certainly this unknown bell ringer had no idea he was reversing a lonely boy's whole destiny. How would he know who heard or cared for his ringing? Perhaps that day he didn't feel good and didn't want to ring the bells at all, but wanted to stay at home in bed. Or perhaps he didn't care to ring them well, as everybody took the bells for granted. He must have rung them with a certain rhythm to give Dick Whittington the message I've quoted.

Whoever it was, he rang the bells well and at the right time!

In a way we are all bell ringers like that unknown man or boy of the Dick Whittington legend. The way we live, the words we say, the books we read, the movies and TV programs we watch, our habits, our attendance or neglect of church and Sunday school, even the way we talk, smile, and walk, give a mysterious message to the whole world.

How do we know who's watching or listening, hoping to get some message of encouragement from us? No matter how weak or inferior or down the ladder we regard ourselves, somebody looks to us for example and guidance. We can make others sad, happy, blue, cheerful, good, bad, better, worse, or indifferent according to the way we conduct ourselves.

The Bible and many of our history books are full of unknown people whose examples make us better people today. Who were the brave soldiers who dared death from the Philistines to get their commander, David, a drink of water from the well at Bethlehem? What was the name of the slave maiden of Naaman, the mighty Syrian general's wife's servant, who gave her mistress instructions that cured Naaman of the disease of leprosy? We don't know.

What lad provided the five loaves and two fishes with which Jesus fed the multitude? What was the true name of the thief on the cross who repented in his last hours and went with our Lord to paradise? We don't know.

You, too, know people you admire, respect, and imitate. The chances are they are unaware of your feelings toward them. In the same way, others regard you.

Who rang the bell for Dick Whittington? Who are you ringing the bell for, and are you ringing it well?

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