A Soldier’s Story


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Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 9:1-13

I want to show God’s kindness to them in any way I can. 2 Samuel 9:3

DAVID KING, a successful American businessman, waited in the lobby of a Hanoi hotel. Over twenty years had passed since he had been in Vietnam as a soldier fighting the North Vietnamese in a war that cost him one of his legs.

Since that time, he had become rich and had learned to walk without crutches, using a prosthetic leg that enabled him to walk with only a slight limp.

A man wearing an American-made business suit entered the hotel lobby from the street and approached King. “I think I have good news for you,” the man said.

“I’m glad to hear that, Ziba,” King said, fastening his eyes on his assistant, Jack Ziba.

“I’ve located one of Lo Dong’s sons,” Ziba said. “He lives in Haiphong.”

“Excellent!” King said. “Let’s go!”

Ziba hesitated. “Do you mind if I ask you a question?” When King shrugged, Ziba asked, “Why all this trouble to locate the family of a Vietnamese man you haven’t seen in twenty years?”

King inhaled deeply and let out a long sigh. “Because Lo Dong saved my life. If he hadn’t dragged me into a hut during a firefight, I would have bled to death. Now that I’m richer than I ever thought possible, I plan to show God’s kindness to his family in any way I can, out of respect for Lo Dong.”

King and Ziba drove the fifty miles from Hanoi to Haiphong and, after three days of searching, found the son of Lo Dong, the man who had saved King’s life. The Vietnamese man bowed to the American, and King bowed back. Then King explained in broken Vietnamese why he had come to Haiphong. The eyes of Lo Dong’s son filled with tears; he bowed again when he understood.

Eventually, Lo Dong’s son became an executive in King’s multinational company, and the two men became close friends—so close, in fact, that King was once quoted in a magazine article as saying, “If I had never made that trip to Hanoi, I would never have known my best friend in the world—the son of the man who saved my life.”

REFLECT: The story of David King and Lo Dong’s son didn’t really happen. But it is based on a true story. How is it like the events described in 2 Samuel 9:1-13? How is it different?

Do you think treating people with respect will give you more friends or more enemies? Will it make your friendships better? If not, why not? If so, how?

ACT: Remember the experiment you began yesterday in which you were going to make a special effort to treat everyone you met or talked to respectfully? Make today the second day of that experiment. At the end of the day, review the results. Have you had more good results than bad results? You may want to consider extending the experiment indefinitely!

PRAY: “Thank you, God, for the friends I gain when I’m kind, patient, and respectful.”


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