There is a story in the Bible about ten lepers who stood in front of Jesus and begged Jesus to heal them of their leprosy. Jesus had compassion upon them and He healed them,… all of them! They dashed off to begin their new lives leprosy-free. As time went by only one of the ten lepers returned to to thank Jesus properly for healing him.
Jesus said this to the grateful leper, “ We’re there not ten of you healed? Where are the other nine?”
This is a biting lesson on gratefulness and ungratefulness. We must always be “the one”. We must always not only be grateful but also express our gratefulness.
During this past Thanksgiving season, I kept thinking about the days of my youth. I grew up in an idyllic neighborhood called Cloverdale in Montgomery, Alabama.
What dominated my thoughts were my schoolmates and teammates, our neighbors, and their families. I did not have a father to guide me. Nothing. I had a loving sacrificial working mom who loved us boys with everything she had. But she was gone a lot working and exhausted when she returned home.
In my repose thinking about my young friends I realized they were more than friends. They were my brothers and I loved them deeply. I would NEVER say that back then but it was true. Now at 74 years old, I tell everybody I love them. The other day I was talking to our plumber Mike about when he would come to our house. Right before we hung up Mike said, “ OK Jerry, I’ll see you next Tuesday”.
I said “Thanks, Mike. I love you, man!”
After I hung up I looked at Holly. She said, “Did you just tell our plumber you loved him?!”
I said, “Yes I did. I need to call him back!”
I called Mike back and when he picked up the phone he was dying laughing and his wife was too in the background.
He said, “Don’t worry Jerry. I know you are happily married!”
So back to the main story. I felt the need to go back to Montgomery, Alabama, and gather up as many classmates and teammates from Lanier High School as I could. I wanted to thank them and their families for informally adopting me, loving me, encouraging me, and making sure I would not fail in the game of Life.
I also wanted to tell them about Jesus in my life and exhort them to make sure they are right with the Lord. You really have to get this part right. Life is but a vapor and then we are in eternity. Where will you be? Where will I be? We are older and much closer to the finish line now.
Six years ago I had a heart attack and I flat-lined for 15 minutes! I died. When I was dying in the emergency room I knew I was about to cross over. All I could say was, “Jesus, Jesus. Jesus, Have Mercy, Jesus, Jesus…….” After I crossed over I was with Jesus. I was told that was coming back and to keep telling people about Him until I returned to Him. I can tell you today, it’s all real!
We all shared our hearts. It was very moving. There was a moment when our 9th-grade football coach walked in the room on a cain. It was a very emotional moment for me. Coach Green also placed me under his wing and he was on a mission to help me succeed in my life. It’s called, Love in Action.
Many said that the gathering was the best and most meaningful event they had ever been to in their life!
After hugs all around goodbyes and a lot of “let’s do this again”, I walked out to the car in the parking lot. It was a sunny southern day. I felt warm and joyful to my bones. I felt light with great pleasure and relief to be able to thank my dear friends eye to eye from my heart and also put Christ on the scoreboard for them to consider or reconsider. It was terrific for all of us.
I am wondering as I write this, are there any of you who might need to have a luncheon gathering with your old friends. Do it while you can!
In His grip,