A New Tribute (Updated)

We all have those people who really stand out to us in life. Perhaps it is a sports figure or someone in Hollywood. They may have great integrity and may even market themselves as a role model for younger generations. When we choose to admire these people, we understand that they are human, and they have faults…but there is a part of us that desperately hopes that they are the same in private as they are portrayed in public. It would devastate us to learn of their recent DUI charge or adultery…because in the most recent episode of their show…they showed such great character.

8 years ago, today, my grandpa Barney “Byron” Wright ended his time here on earth. Papaw passed away on a Sunday and left a void in all of our lives… The people who wept at his funeral only did so because they were not going to be able to talk to him anymore (for now) or hear him sing or dare to stand in the same room with him as he prayed (I don’t like to watch anyone get beat up, but the devil seemed to come out very bloody in these cases).  His life touched so many that we, as a family, were overwhelmed by the amount of people that came to support us…people of every walk of life, skin color, and age group came to celebrate the life of a man who knew Jesus so well, that joy was always present. These same people lingered for a long time at the celebration to tell stories we had never heard about how they were introduced to Jesus Christ through my papaw.

As I reflected on this tribute, I believe God whispered a convicting and powerful concept into my ear. It is simply this…Our life is only a small part of our life. What do I mean by that? Well, as was the case for my grandpa, it is obvious that a life truly sold out to God is one that naturally pours into others. So, in this case, our life is only the vessel by which other lives can be changed. What an incredible mission to dedicate ourselves to!

There are so many incredible stories that one could tell about his life that, to write them down in blog form, they may break the internet. I can tell you this…he was the same in private as he was in public.

I could write more but I feel that papaw would want me to tell you the most important thing about his life. He would tell you that, 70 years ago, he was the most vulgar sinner…undeserving of any abundance God had for him. Yet, for some reason, God wanted him to help clog the gates of heaven. 71 years ago he asked to God to cleanse him of his sins…

That man could pray.  And if you knew him…you were on his morning prayer list…I think one of the reasons he died was because he fell so in love with God that he couldn’t wait any longer… like a bride and groom anxious for their wedding day.

Papaw…even though you are currently busy celebrating and probably won’t read this…Well done good and faithful servant…well done.

(1 Corinthians 11:1)

Book Recommendations

Hello Friends!

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Click on the picture!

Lower Class Citizens

There is a unique feature in many large old houses. This feature summarizes the values, and customs of a society that existed long ago. The very nature of this structural feature suggests that there was a type of person that did not deserve equal treatment comparable to the owner of the household.

The part of the house I speak of is the servant’s entrance.

Often this entrance would be placed a considerable distance away from the main entrance so that the help would not be seen.

Perhaps this was because the owners did not want to have to be reminded that the luxuries that these lower class citizens manufacture, are the result of blood, sweat, and tears. Blood, sweat, and tears that are disposible commodities to those people who took their wealth for granted.

The servant’s entrance of these houses had constant traffic by the army of laborers that worked every day to keep life running.

In God’s economy, these lower class citizens, are actually the elite.

Jesus gives us a clear picture of what His expectations of us are.

We are to be servants to others. This must be imbedded in our hearts.

In fact, our submission, and humble posture are what guarantee access to God.

When we lead others…we must be servants.

When we give charitably…we must serve others, and not our egos.

When we tell others about Christ…we must be humble enough to share our imperfections.

I pray that we will look at every action that we do as an act of servanthood.

Heaven’s door is not a luxurious gate, but a servant’s entrance.

Story time: Reconnected

I will never forget the time an old friend came to mind randomly as I sat at my desk at work. I worked for a medical office and I did patient care via phone. One day I received word of a patient that needed a phone call about a particular issue. So, the first thing I did was enter the patient’s name into the database, and as you can imagine this particular individual had a somewhat common name and because of this there were many people that pulled up in the database. This is obviously nothing unusual, and happened most of the time when I entered someone’s name into the computer. This time, however was a little different because at the top of the list, I found someone that I knew and who I have not seen in many years. This man had become a great friend, but because of his circumstances and his health, I knew that he had become functionally homeless (going from hotels to eventually a short term nursing home).

The line on the computer stood out to me, and I made a mental note that I was going to try to find him and reconnect. I decided to spend some time later calling around to different hospitals because I just had this feeling deep inside that he was not okay. Oddly enough, the first call I made was to a hospital I remember him going to years before for a rather minor issue. Sure enough, I found out that he was at that hospital at the time that I called. So, I decided I was going to use a day off to go visit him. It was going to be a wonderful surprise, and in my mind I thought I was going to walk in to a situation in which he was watching television and eating Jell-O as anyone would be doing in the hospital. This was not exactly the case for my friend. He was a very large man and needed a custom breathing apparatus to make sure his body received enough oxygen. The medical technician had already struggled with fitting his breathing mask on him for nearly 2 hours. I walked in to both of the arguing about the comfort of the device. When he finally saw me, he began to weep.

No one knew how bad he was doing, and no one knew he was in the hospital. He had lost connection with most people that he loved and outside of his children, he felt as if people had forgotten about him. He was so excited to see me that he ripped off his mask that was giving him oxygen, just so he could talk to me. This nearly send the medical technician into a fit of rage because of the long hours he had already put into the project. He stormed out of the room, and while I felt sorry for him, this did give my friend and I the chance to reconnect. I sat with him and talked for a few hours, and we laughed, cried, and shared memories. He told me about how he was estranged from nearly everyone he knew, and the fact that he no longer had a phone, it was very difficult to keep in contact with people.

My friend had no money, and the one thing that he wished he had at the time was a Bible to read. I told him I would get him one to read from the hospital gift shop. Unfortunately they did not have large print so I promised him I would get him a new Bible the even had his name engraved in it. He nodded and smiled. I then left. It was such a sweet time together.

My friend died in his sleep a couple weeks after I visited him in the hospital. I couldn’t believe it because I never knew he was that close to death when I saw him.

I realize now that it was God who prompted me to reconnect. I am glad I listened.

-Landon DeCrastos