“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shall thou be with Me in paradise.”
I went to a funeral yesterday for a man who lived his life as a catalyst for others. A friend of my family since before my birth, this man was an integral part of the early memories I have of my parents. An avid baseball player, I have fond memories of both he and my Dad in their baseball uniforms playing for a local team every week. After their game, my Dad (the pitcher), his friends, and various members of the team would converge at our home to eat an afternoon dinner. As you can imagine, the house became quite boisterous when they won a game. He was a handsome man whom women were easily attracted to, even more so, because he was soft-spoken, kind, and very generous. It is because of his generosity, kindness, and overall propensity to help almost anyone who needed help, that I decided to write about him today.
At the funeral, one of his adult nephews said, “I don’t know how to explain it, but for me, he was the closest thing to a real superhero!” I understood. He was one of those people who were always there when you needed them. Now that I am an adult, I realize that it may not have been easy for him, you know, being “a superhero and all." —Always being there for all those outstretched hands; but, somehow he tried. Although not much of a churchgoer, he spent his early childhood in a strict religious household that placed a large emphasis on door-to-door witnessing. And, toward the end of both their lives, he and my Dad would often pray together. However, this is not the reason that I am writing about him.
As I sat listening to the reverie of his family and friends, I thought about God’s Grace. I thought about those people who fill the pews of a church, without generosity, without love, and without kindness towards others; the ones who adopt doctrines and dress codes with no leeway for human frailty. Those who, although somber and reverent in the pews each week, secretly and maliciously seek the destruction of others on a continuous basis. For many, their hearts and spirits are so broken, it is difficult for them to offer love, using only what's left of the small reconstructed pieces of themselves. --Then, I think about this man. A man who rarely attended a church, yet easily used his talents and gifts to help all those he could, to foster their talents and gifts. He invested time and energy in others the way most of us breathe air, motivating them to fulfill their God-given potential. More than five hundred people showed up to express their love and respect for this man’s life, and more waited outside while the service was in session. There are not a lot of things I know for sure; yet, I personally understand God’s Grace. —Maybe, you do too.
It is with the Grace of God that one of the thieves on the cross recalling his life of wretchedness cried out to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom!” And, it is through the Grace of God that Jesus replied, “Verily I say unto thee, today shall thou be with Me in Paradise.” None of us are perfect. In our hearts we know our deeds, our failures, and our sins. —We can never make up for them. Jesus confused many Christians with those words to the criminal who died at his side. But, the truth is, we should all be so blessed. Today, take the time to acknowledge God’s Grace in your life. Ask Him to continue to grant you His Grace every single day, as you go through this life. L.
Study Reference: Luke 23:32-43, Revelation 22:21
From: "The Superhero & God's Grace." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell
photo: Google Images