Monday, March 28, 2016

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” ― Desmond Tutu

For some reason, I have always had professors who believed in me and cared about me.  This manifested itself in many ways:  visits in my home, visits to my hospital bed, signed copies of books, and occasional gifts.  When I was graduated from McMurry College in Abilene, Texas, I was standing in line in my cap and gown and one such professor walked up to me.  She was one of my English professors and knew that I was leaving immediately after graduation to teach in a Los Angeles ghetto.  She pressed a brass medallion into my hand and said, “Keep on giving.”  The medallion was one she had brought back from the Holy Land and was of five loaves and two fishes.  I wore that around my neck or used it as a key chain for the next thirty some odd years, but it was always with me (see picture at the right with me wearing it in the early seventies).  And I did keep on giving, teaching, working with the mentally ill, working to prevent youth suicide, and later, serving God and His church.  We moved to Arkansas in the 1980’s and returned after I was graduated from seminary in Boston to serve churches in Northwest Arkansas.  A young man who was a member of a church I was serving as an associate pastor had been on my radar as someone that God had His hands on.  It was just a feeling but a feeling borne out by watching this young man serve his church and the other youth within it.  He graduated from high school and was honored at the church I was serving.  I don’t know what made me do it (of course, it was probably God), but on that Sunday after he graduated, I took the fish and loaves medallion and pressed it into his hand and told him to keep on giving.  Soon after, I left that church and then moved to Africa.  I was able to keep up with him through his mother’s Facebook posts and followed his passage through college and then through seminary.  He is now an ordained United Methodist pastor serving a church in Kansas.  Yesterday, his mother posted some pictures of him at his church in Kansas where she and other members of his family worshipped on Easter Sunday.  I was very proud of him.  I don’t know if he still has the medallion or not.  I haven’t spoken or written to him since that morning I gave it to him.  It doesn’t matter if he does or not, but one thing is sure, he has kept on giving and continues to give.  He comes from a wonderful supportive family whose members I count among my friends, quite proudly.  His giving mirrors theirs, and I can take no credit for who or what he has become, but I still do anyway and am as proud of him as if he was related to me.  He may not even remember me, but what is important is that he remembers his promises to God and keeps God’s promises in his heart.  There are good, wonderful people in this world and he and his family are among the best.  I am proud to know them.  If there are people like that in your world, do let them know that you are proud of them, too.




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