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Written in Red

For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

2 Corinthians 1:20 KJV

Tom Pendergast held immense political power in the state of Missouri in the 1930s. Although he never held office himself he decided who would. His influence extended from the Governor’s mansion to the dog catcher in the smallest town. His grip even found its way into the halls of Congress. However, Pendergast was a shady character at best. He was involved in prostitution, backdoor gambling, and illegal liquor sales during the Prohibition. He was a short, stocky man with a head the size of a small watermelon. Yet, his broad smile and general friendliness drew men and women to him. It is an interesting note of history that such a man as ‘Big Boss’ Pendergast was directly responsible for advancing the political career of the strait-shooting, honest Harry S. Truman.

During the Great Depression, Pendergast volunteered to help men find jobs. Working out of his office, he interviewed men and then sent them to various places of employment. Soon, a line stretched down city blocks and eventually wrapped around several buildings. The method that Pendergast used was simple. He never interviewed a man more than five minutes and then he would scratch a note and send him on his way. Every piece of paper held the same message with one distinct difference. If the ‘Big Boss’ wrote the note in pencil, it meant that the man was worthless and should not be considered. If he wrote the note in blue ink the prospective employer could hire the man, if he choose, and then he was to keep an eye on him. If Pendergast wrote the note with red ink, it meant that the man should be hired at once. When each man walked out of his office, he had no idea the distinction. The last word on all the notes was always “oblige”, which held with it the weight and force of the man, Pendergast.

In the closing verses of Revelation, Jesus declared that He had sent His angel to testify to the church about ‘these things.’ He is referring to all the promises throughout the book regarding the end times. His desire was that the church be fully aware and immersed in a constant expectation of His return. Paul wrote in Corinthians that all the promises of God are, “Yes and Amen.” All that God has declared, He will do. From Heaven, He shouts “Yes,” and from earth, we cry back “Amen.” His promises are not written in pencil that they might be erased by our failures. Furthermore, all that he has pledged is not written in blue ink, awaiting our collapse of faith. What God has declared regarding our salvation and eternal future is written in the red ink of His power and glory. Tom Pendergast was a man with his hand in the corruption of this world, and yet, by his word things were accomplished, and the lives of men were advanced. How much more will our God fulfill all that He has promised regarding our future blessing. Let us walk happily along on our journey holding onto the fact that God has written His promises in red and with the final word, oblige.


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