[Hello, Readers. I’m introducing something new to the blog this week. From time-to-time, I’ll post a short article about someone I think you should know. My prayer is that you will find inspiration from these amazing Children of God—Blessings, Jean]
Imagine someone writing the word “Eternity” in chalk and crayon on sidewalks more than a half a million times over 37 years . His name was Arthur Malcolm Stace, a short, bird-like, little man, eccentric, street character, Child of God. Maybe you know someone like him.
Arthur came from a troubled home. Raised in poverty, the fifth child of struggling parents, by the age of twelve he lived in foster homes. His sisters turned to prostitution and his brothers became drunks. Arthur’s life wasn’t much better. He worked for a while in a coal mine until the police jailed him for drunkenness and he lost his job. He lost a succession of jobs before turning to thievery and “working” as a lookout at brothels and gambling parlors.
Arthur tried to turn his life around. He enlisted in the army, but after three years they discharged him as medically unfit, PTSD. So, Arthur went back to his old ways: drunk, broke, and unemployed. But then something happened, one of those “God” things.
Now in danger of going to prison, Arthur met a pastor who convinced him to give up drinking and give his heart to God. It worked! Arthur turned into a self-described “missioner” visiting down-and-out men in homeless shelters and leading prayer meetings in his community. But God wasn’t done with Arthur yet. He arranged for him to meet another pastor, a preacher named John Ridley.
This is how Arthur tells it:
“John Ridley was a powerful preacher and he shouted, ‘I wish I could shout Eternity through the streets of Sydney.’ He repeated himself and kept shouting, ‘Eternity, Eternity’, and his words were ringing through my brain as I left the church. Suddenly I began crying and I felt a powerful call from the Lord to write ‘Eternity’. I had a piece of chalk in my pocket, and I bent down right there and wrote it. I’ve been writing it at least 50 times a day ever since, and that’s 30 years ago … I think Eternity gets the message across, makes people stop and think.”
Yes, Arthur Stace, a man who could barely write his own name let alone write and spell “Eternity” got up most days at dawn and walked the streets anonymously chalking the word on sidewalks. For a while he tried writing “Obey God,” but he decided it wasn’t as good. “Eternity makes ’em think,” Arthur said. He inscribed his cryptic precept in yellow, waterproof chalk, written in copperplate hand, wherever he went. His one-word message could weather three to six months; one, he was told, lasted twelve. Arthur Stace became known as the anonymous “Eternity Man,” a mysterious street character who remained anonymous for 37 years until finally he was caught in the act.
Arthur died at the age of 83. This former drunk, this kid from a troubled background, bequeathed his body to a university medical school to help those suffering from illnesses. He gave his life savings to missions. A brass inscription memorializes him in a paving stone near the town square. In Arthur’s familiar copperplate handwriting it reads:
Arthur Malcolm Stace (9 February 1884 – 30 July 1967, Balmain, Sydney, Australia)
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Is there someone you think I should know, someone whom you would like to see featured in one of my posts? Let me know, and I’ll add that person to my list.
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