He Still Has My Number

Title: He Still Has My Number
Category: Ministry Issues
Subject: God, Communication with; Ministry Burnout; Burnout
He Still Has My Number

(As related by Dr. Franklin Kirksey)

Dr. Ben Haden tells, “I’ve never liked particularly weird stories attributed to Christ – and all of us familiar with the Scripture know that on occasion the Lord does operate in a fashion that seems extremely weird to us.

Recently, there was a man in Washington State – a pastor. One day, he examined himself.

“I’ll call it burnout,” he said. “I am not sure what it is. I used to love to preach -- now I can’t stand it. It’s all I can do to drag myself into the pulpit and flee right afterwards.”

“I marvel that I have anything to say,” he said, “because I’ve lost all communication with the Lord. When I pray, I’m confident that the words don’t get out of the room –I’ve lost all contact with Christ.”

He shared it with his wife. “I’ve got to do something,” he told her. “I’ve got to know whether He has lost my number -- fear He has. He doesn’t talk to me anymore.”

They took the children out of school. They got in a van and headed east -- no particular destination. They were passing through an Ohio town. The children said, “Look, Ma! Pizza!” So, all the children and Ma agreed that they would have pizza, they drove into the pizza restaurant.

But Dad (the pastor) said, “I don’t feel like pizza. I think I’ll go down the street and get a hot dog and a Coke. Just 100 yard -- I’ll be back.”

As he walked toward the hot dog stand, he passed a service station. In front of the service station was a public telephone booth -- and the phone was ringing.
The pastor looked around and there was no one to answer it. So on whimsy, he picked up the phone.

“Hello,” he said.

“Is this Rev. (we’ll call him) Malcolm Doe?” a woman asked.

“Yes,” he said.
“I’m so thankful,” the woman said. “If I couldn’t get through to you I was going to take my life. I’m so glad to find you in your office.”

“My office?”


“What is it?” he asked.

She poured out her heart -- and he was able to encourage her. And he prayed with her.

He put the phone back on the receiver, walked next door and got his Coke and hot dog and slowly made his way back to the pizza restaurant. All the kids were excited as they piled into the van. Dad didn’t say a word for nearly 30 minutes -- but he was smiling.

As his wife glanced at him, she thought to herself: I haven’t seen him smile in six months.

“What’s with the smile?” she asked.

He turned and said, “He’s still got my number.”

Ben Haden, pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee, aired on Changed Lives radio broadcast, April 22, 1990, WMBV 91.9 Dixons Mills, Alabama, from sermon notes “The Main Thing” pp. 5-6