The Story of a Nail
Missionary Hubert Mitchell set off into the thick jungles of Sumatra to reach an animist tribe deep in the heart of that country. On the way he stopped to buy fish and some cans of mandarin oranges, and then continued on the trail. Eventually he came to a group of people who at first were afraid, but Hubert’s assistant persuaded the Chief that Hubert had come from a great distance with a wonderful message called "Good News."
Hubert began to tell the story of Jesus. Taking two pieces of a small tree, he tied them together to form a cross. Lying down on the cross, he explained that the soldiers nailed Jesus' hands and feet to the cross.
Suddenly the Chief spoke up, "What is a nail?”Taken aback, Hubert tried to explain. As he talked, the people started to pull away. "Don't go. There must be a nail somewhere around here." The men searched pockets and knapsacks but found no nail.
Thoughts flooded his mind. "Oh Lord You brought me all this way from the U.S. for this?” After lunch he opened one of the cans of oranges for dessert. Pouring them onto his plate, he was ready to toss the can--when he heard a rattle. Opening the can further, he looked inside, and there at the bottom of the can was a nail!
Hubert jumped to his feet. "This is a nail! This is what they put into the hands of Jesus!” Calling everyone back to the center of the clearing, the Chief asked Hubert to tell the crucifixion story again. Soon the people started to weep with deep sobs, tears flowing down their cheeks, as they heard the message that God loved them and that their sins could be forgiven. It was the beginning of a miracle in the lives of that tribe--all because of a nail in a can of oranges.