For several years while we were living in Alabama I had the privilege of calling high school football games on the radio (that may come as a surprise to some of my friends in Texas and Oklahoma). My co-host each week was Byron Benson. I learned last week that my friend, Byron had passed away. Byron was a unique individual. He spent many years working for the phone company. During all of those years he also served as a part time preacher. The only problem was, there was nothing part time about anything Byron did. He was a diligent worker for the Lord. He loved Jesus, the Word of God, the church, and the lost.
During those years, the highlight was when we had an away game. Byron and I would load up our radio equipment and hit the road. The road trips were so much fun. No matterwhat small town or community in Alabama where the game was being played, Byron always knew a restaurant. And they were always, “Good eaten,” as Byron would say. The food was good, but the fellowship was better. We would spend hours discussing preaching, the work of the church, family and life in general. Spending time with Byron enriched by life. Being around him made me a better person.
When it was time for kickoff the fun really got cranked up. Byron loved life and he loved football. He had a great knowledge of the game. He studied the teams that were playing. He was an avid War Eagle fan. And as you may know I am an avid Crimson Tide fan. That made for some interesting conversations. Once he had tickets to the Bama/Auburn game and he offered to sell me one for $3,000.00! He had a dry wit that manifested itself in various ways throughout the broadcast. If a game got out of hand he would say, “So Jeff, what do you want to talk about now?” He was a joy to work with and a blessing to know.
Hearing of Byron’s passing this week brought sadness to my heart. The last time we saw each other was a few years back when I was preaching in a meeting in Alabama. I wish we had seen each other more through the years. I wish I would have worked harder to stay in touch with him. His passing reminds me how important friendships are to us. How important it is that we don’t neglect our friendships.
Maybe there is someone in your life who you love, but you haven’t told them lately how much they mean to you. Why not drop that person a note, give them a call, or better still figure out a way to see them. May God enrich your friendships and may we thank Him daily for the people He has allowed in our lives.