Another Day, Another Time:
It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm straightening some shelves…cleaning up some books from one stack to another until they find the final stack. I picked up a favorite, "Flags of Our Fathers" by James Bradley (with Ron Powers) and found a note sticking out of the beginning of chapter 9 where was found this unique quote:
"Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem." ~Ronald Regan
Good book. Good quote. But what was on that note? Some names. Friends from a long time gone by, and from more recent times. Why was the note here? Was I planning some task that involved them? Were they connected to this quote? Let's see if they have anything in common. Melody. Mark. Darin. Mickey. Ray. David. Several of these names are from folks I've known over 30 years. Some I've met only since moving to Washington. One only by casual social media connection.
At the bottom of the list of names, in quotes, a phrase: "Another Day, Another Time".
When I put the names in Ronald Regan's quote, I wondered…have I made a difference in their lives, or have they made a difference in mine? Is that the reason this note is here? Wish my memory recall was working better!
We often wonder if we have made a difference in anyone's life. I know school teachers question themselves on this. There are a few that were impactful to me and I've written about them often. Some have passed and I can only tell their families. Others are still around and it makes me want to reach out and let them know. You made a difference in my life!
Surely they know!?!
A year or so back a young lady wrote me a kind message that thanked me and my wife for being there for her during some challenging times. As a pastor, you sure want to hear these remarks and are happy when they come. But the obverse is equally true. Have I ever told pastors how much they meant to me during certain times of my life? Most of them are gone and I can only hope they knew how they helped me. Some of them made a difference more than the others.
Surely they know!?!
My siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and all those extended family members that watched over me during trying times. My friends, co-workers, and mentors who gave me a boost and a shoulder. My neighbors throughout the years. Those total strangers that stepped up to help. There are some who made great differences in my choices of life.
Surely…Surely they know!?!
There is nothing like coming clean and getting these feelings off your chest. Share the blessing by giving thanks. You never know the impact you will have, and maybe at a time that it is needed the most.
I came across Brock Huard only by listening to some football games where his job was being one of the announcers. A sport's pro. High School. College. Seahawks. Professional all the way. But also a good Christian fellow with a great podcast. I wish you would check him out here. There's a clickable link here, or simply look up his name.
While interviewing another athlete he shared how a lady came to him at the end of a speaking engagement wanting to chat with him. When he was about free from his obligations she shared with him that she knew about his auto accident when he was a teen. He gave comfort to the driver, who was also a teen, who was facing some personal challenges. It was his calm demeanor that gave a Godly hope to the driver and her mom, who was facing many challenges.
The lady just had to share. He was in tears by the time the story was over.
How would he have ever known unless someone had told him!?!
Jesus had a similar experience. On one of his journeys, 10 lepers cried out asking for mercy. Did they know him? Maybe. Could they suspect he had abilities that no one else did? Again, maybe. Regardless. They did not beg. They could not approach as the law required them to stay away from others. They simply asked for mercy.
Jesus said, in a life changing set of few words, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." No big deal. But it was! As they went, they were cleansed and healed. There was nothing for the priest to do except examine them and declare them clean. Jesus had already done the work…
But one of them returned. With a loud voice, he glorified God! Where are the others, asks Jesus? Were there not 10 of you and only one has returned to give thanks?
And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well." (Luke 17:19 NKJV)
He alone received the wellnessthat his faith exhibited. This was different than the mercy, cleansing, and healing they had all received. There was a completeness in him that did not extend to the others. Why? His faith. Sacrifice. And, he came back. He gave thanks.
There is something unique about the one who is always giving and never expecting anything in return. But there is a deep blessing received when one comes back, every so often, and gives thanks for the extra effort and sacrifice.
To those who have come back and given thanks… my blessings to each of you. To all those, I need to go to? Hang on… I'm coming.