|We may hear someone say, “Well, you have one life to live!” It’s an off-the-cuff remark of which people pay little attention. However, maybe we should. |
Life is short. It is something that no one should take for granted because the next breath could be the end. Living in the moment is rare, for often we live in the past or in the future with our thoughts.
How we live, whatever time we have, is what makes the difference.
I want to share with you a short summary of the life of one man that none of you will know. His first name was Grafton. We buried Grafton yesterday in an all black cemetery in Florida. He was 95 years old. Having emigrated to the U.S. from Barbados, he wanted to serve God even though he only had a 4th grade education. During this time, he worked in the groves as a fruit picker. He had no problem with hard work, but wanted to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being poor was often a problem with where to live or having enough to eat, but he managed to make ends meet. Sometimes it was with the help of those who cared about him.
After getting some education and a license to preach by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Grafton reached out to the black community to preach and be of service in their church. As is their practice, the AME Bishop appointed Graftron to be pastor of a specific congregation in Central Florida. Often, after his first Sunday in the new congregation, he arrived home and received a phone call from the Bishop, who said ” Don’t go back. They don’t want you.”
Why? Because he was different from the African Americans here in Florida. He was from another country and he had a slight accent. Was this any reason to reject his open heart to serve God? Of course not, but unfortunately, people of all races have their prejudices. What was he to do? He found a white minister who was willing to give him a position as “Visitation minister” to the shut ins and those in the nursing homes. What happened? Some families complained and didn’t want him to visit “Grandmother” because he was black.
A friend said to the minister who hired him, “You mean you gave a black man a job to go visit white women?!” “Yes.” “Well, there IS a God in heaven!!” was the reply.
For a period of time, he drove about 200 miles to a congregation that would accept him. This was a hardship, but he was willing to go where he was accepted and appreciated.
Grafton was one life given to God to serve Him. Yet, he was unwanted…much as our Savior was unwanted. Grafton was not crucified, but it is certain that his heart, at times, was torn in half by the people around him…who “just didn’t want him”…both black and white.
Those friends who did accept him and brought him into their homes for meals knew that they had found a real “Gentle Giant” with a heart of gold. He was over 6ft 5in or more and had a smile that warmed the heart. He was one life…humble and caring. He was God’s child.
The minister, who hired Grafton, was my husband, Bill. Some years ago, Grafton told Bill that when the time came for him to die, “Please give me a good send-off!” Yesterday, Bill did just that, with prayers and thanksgiving for a special life and a special man. Grafton was laid to rest beside his wife, who also was a minister of Jesus Christ.
At the grave-site…an all black cemetery…there were only twelve people…all white friends who loved him. In this day of racial division and concerns, it seems appropriate to say that love is still available to all who want to give and receive it…regardless of who we are. We are all God’s children with one life to live. A young, white woman came to the funeral, with a photo in hand of Grafton and her when she was younger. She said through her tears, “He was my friend.” What a lesson for all of us that friendship can be a real blessing in life when we put away our biases.
In Honor of Grafton… One Solitary Life…who served the resurrected Savior.
This is a poem about the life of Jesus Christ. Although the author is frequently cited as “unknown” the poem is actually attributed to James Allen Francis.
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then, for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave, through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned–put together–have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.
VIDEO: One Solitary Life Turn on sound
POST NOTE: After this blog was posted, I received a note from one of my readers. She also addressed that people with a disability are also not given respect. She tells of a student named John who was an Albino. (Definition of albino: a person or animal having a congenital absence of pigment in the skin and hair which are unusually white and the eyes which are usually pink.)
” John, who was studious, nice, thin, not athletic at all. He was an albino. His hair was white, his eyes were almost pink. I liked him, and most kids did. A lot of the boys, who were considered “tough guys,” gave him a hard time. If any of us saw that we’d go after those kids and try to save John. We lived close to that family. His father died, and his Mom did her best. She had edema and had problems moving around, but John took care of her. It was such a sad situation and he did his best. John was intelligent and received outstanding grades in school. Just prior to graduation, his mother died. John hung himself. He couldn’t go on any longer. It boggles my mind when I hear about people who torture others because of their color or any disability, etc…”
My last post during this Easter season was about the temptation of Christ in the desert. Today we look at another special day in the week before the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.
What exactly does Maundy Thursday mean? The word Maundy is a shortened form of mandatum, which is Latin. The word means “command”.
Jesus celebrated the final Passover meal with His disciples. It was during this time that He gave a command to them, as He washed their feet in a great gesture of compassion and humility. This was usually the job of a servant.
Christians today and in centuries past believe it was also a command to show love and humility to others. He said the following to them:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34
Some Christian congregations today have the ceremony of foot washing, after the example of Christ. The Pope has gone to prisons and washed the feet of prisoners, usually kissing their feet after they were washed and dried. He too was obeying the command and example of Christ.
Do we all have to ask to wash people’s feet? The answer would be “no” in that there are many ways to show love and compassion as well as humility. Think of how you can show God’s love at this Easter season and throughout the year. God will show you how.
Humility and Love is the real lesson Jesus gave us as Christians. Christ said that in this way, people will know that you are His followers and disciples.
VIDEO: Turn up sound
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2ndChronicles 7:14 in the Holy Scriptures
Individuals do terrible things. Groups of people do terrible things. Nations do terrible things. The numbers of attacks on people of the United States speak for themselves. (chart below) Throughout the world, it is even worse where men, women and children, including Americans, were brutally attacked as they went about their everyday life. Sandy Hook Elementary School was an attack on little children and teachers. Columbine was a high school filled with young people. VA Tech also had young people. Again, the Scriptures warn us: “And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone was hanged about his neck, and he was cast into the sea.” Mark 9:42
We, who claim the name of Christ, must humble ourselves…pray…and ask for the healing that this world needs. If we don’t, who will?
- We, here at Boyer Writes, ask that you send a prayer request if you would like prayer…write to email@example.com
- Use only first names in anything you write and the State or Country where you live.
- We will pray for each one of the requests. That is our promise.
WE ASK EVERYONE IF YOU READ A COMMENT TO PRAY A SINCERE AND FERVENT PRAYER. MAY ALL THESE PRAYERS COME FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO OUR LORD IN HEAVEN THAT WE MAY HAVE THE HEALING SO DESPERATELY NEEDED.
We are in the middle of the Season of Lent…a time of reflection, repentance and waiting for the great and glorious Easter Day. Having recently attended an event with educated, talented and, yes, sophisticated people, I was struck by the attitude of a person I knew to be a regular church-going person…a professing Christian. It began as a friendly conversation that moved clearly into a belief in self-importance and frankly, snobbery. The person mentioned that they had left a certain congregation because “the people just didn’t have our same social class…mostly trailer park people.”
I came away wondering what Jesus would have thought about “trailer park people.” Many of the people we know, especially in the mountains that we visit each summer, might fit that category of housing…small places, double and single wide trailers, but they are some of the nicest people I know. Some of their dwellings may be humble, but they are definitely down to earth, courteous, loving and caring about others….the salt of the earth. If this person, that I mentioned above, had the opportunity to sit down beside one of my friends in a small cafe and really get to know them, she would find out what we know…they are are truly real people!
In fact, these are some of the very people that Jesus went out of His way to seek out. They weren’t the wealthy or the highly educated…or even the most moral. Most were not self-righteous or condescending about others. They did, however, have people who refused to socialize with them. The woman at the well, who had many husbands and was then living with someone other than a husband, could not understand why Jesus, a Jew, was speaking to her as a Samaritan. Yet, He never spoke down to her as if she was not worthy of God’s love. Most Christians believe that simply giving a drink of cold water in His name is the same as giving it for Christ.
How often modern day people…even Christian people…lift themselves up on a pedestal, thinking of themselves as better than others. I think it is time that all of us take a hard look into our hearts and see if any of these words apply to us:
- holier than thou
When speaking of others or refusing to reach to others, because of our own self-importance or superior feelings, is certainly not following the example of Christ even if we profess to be a Christian. We were not called to be a Christian by elevating ourselves above others. Ultra-sophistication can severely limit the joys in life and the people that He would bring into our lives because we believe that others do not quite make the grade.
We have been told that there is level ground at the Cross. Even the mother of the sons of Zebedee missed the mark when she asked for her sons be able to sit directly next to Jesus when He came into his kingdom. Why would she feel that they were any better or more important than others that followed Him? Jesus left it up to His Father in Heaven to make this decision. He also talked about those who wanted to be “great…shall be a servant.” (Matthew 20:26)
Think about it as you approach people in your walk of life. Those who think of themselves too highly may end up being rebuked by our Lord, as were His disciples.
For me personally, I’m looking forward to sitting with my friends who may live in humble circumstances …hearing their delightful stories and being enriched by their lives… and hopefully to enrich theirs.
VIDEO: Turn up sound
We are told to “humble” ourselves before God and pray that our land may be healed.
My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2nd Chronicles 7:14
Most would say that they don’t think we should be so humble that we do not stand up for ourselves. Where exactly does humility and ego play a part in our lives? This is a big question. As individuals we form nations and surely we can’t always be humble and allow our country to be at risk from others. Almost everyone would agree today, however, that our land (nation) is in desperate need of healing. Peace on earth can never be attained unless individuals humble themselves and pray for that healing individually and collectively.
Just what does being humble mean?
Here are a few sayings that help us better understand “HUMILITY”:
Seven Characteristics and possible “Power” of a Humble Person
- You can defuse arguments when you are humble. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
- You can handle unfair treatment peacefully when you are humble. You can respond to unfair treatment without becoming bitter. Godly humility means you do not feel a need for vengeance or revenge.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
3 You do not have to put on a “false front” when you are humble. You don’t need to act like a big shot. The better you know God, the less you have to prove.
4 You can eat “humble pie” without being crushed when you are humble. When you are humble, you can respond to and learn from criticism without becoming defensive—whether it is deserved or not deserved. Likewise, you can be aware of your failures without being emotionally devastated.
5 You can ask for forgiveness when you are humble. Even if you think you are only one percent wrong, you can easily apologize for what you did wrong.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)
6 You can talk with the right attitude when you are humble. You can talk courteously and lovingly, regardless of the situation — even if you need to be firm or take strong action.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)
7.Being humble does not mean being a wimp Humility does not mean groveling.
(by Doug Britton)
Watch this video that indicates how puffed up and proud we are as people. A person that was not homeless poses as one and reverses the scenario. Instead of begging or asking for money, he is giving away money to those he speaks to. It is astonishing that all photographed, except one, did not get the point of what he was doing. Instead they became proud and belligerent…still thinking of him as homeless. One even swore at him and another boasted of what he owned. If this is any indication of the average person’s thoughts and beliefs, we, as Americans, are in big trouble. Not only Americans, but anyone who sees themselves as “better”…proud and with no humility. How would you react in this situation?
click to WATCH VIDEO (Inside Edition) Enlarge screen for best viewing