On Thursdays when I am in town it is my privilege to conduct a Bible study at the retirement home across the street from our building. Each week the crowd is different but from the first week I was involved there has been one constant. Harry has been there every week.
Harry seems to be in charge. On occasions he wears a name badge that says “President.” One time I asked Harry what he was President of, and he said, “All this!”
Harry is a delightful man. He has a robust laugh and he seems to genuinely enjoy life. Today I went to the retirement home for our Bible study and no one showed up but Harry.
He told me that there was a meeting going on about what everyone needed to do in case of a disaster (tornado, fire, etc.). He said, “they tell you the same thing at every meeting, and I think I’ve got it down now (Harry is 85), besides that I’m not going to miss Bible study!”
Since no one else showed up Harry and I just visited for nearly an hour. He told me about his life. How he had grown up in south Texas and how he had worked for many years for GE in Houston.
He told me about attending a Football game in the 1950’s when a Texas A & M team coached by Bear Bryant (Harry remembered that once during a Bible study I mentioned I was from Alabama) with John David Crowe as the start beat a good Rice team.
He talked about his children and grandchildren all who make him very proud. I asked Harry what he likes to do with his time these days. He said that he watches a little TV until it gets too bad (“which” he said, “doesn’t take too long”), and he loves to look at Train Magazines. I asked Harry where he got his love for Train Books and he said that he once worked for the railroad.
Harry then seemed to become pensive and said, “I guess I’m what you call one of those ‘loners,’ most of my co-workers and friends have passed away, and all my family lives a long way off.”
During the course of our conversation numerous people walked by the seating area where we were visiting. Harry took the time to greet every person and he asked each of them if they wanted to join our “Bible study?” Allow me to share a few lessons I learned today from my friend Harry that would be good for all Christians.
BE KIND TO EVERYONE. Some of the people Harry greeted he called by name. I know that Harry didn’t know everyone who walked by because more than once after speaking he would say, “I don’t know who that is!” Then he would laugh.
The Bible speaks often of the kindness of God (Romans 2:4; 11:22; Ephesians 2:7; Titus 3:4; 1 Peter 2:3) as well as the need for His people to be kind (2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12; 2 Peter 1:7). If we really want to be more like Jesus we will be kind to everyone.
INVITE OTHERS TO CHURCH. Harry must have invited thirty people or more to join us today. I thought about all the people we see every day and wondered how many folks we invite to join us for worship.
Friendship Evangelism is one of the greatest methods of sharing the Gospel with others. God’s people should want to tell others the Good News. Like Paul we should not be “ashamed of the Gospel.” (Romans 1:16)
LOVE LIFE. Harry could easily get down about his plight in life, but he genuinely loves life. His joy is contagious. I noticed a number of people who smiled when Harry spoke to them. Even when he spoke briefly of being a “loner” Harry would not dwell on it and allow it to control him.
Of all people who should love life it should be the people of God. We are a redeemed people, purchased with the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We have an abundance of spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Our Savior has given us an abundant life (John 10:10). Our life should be characterized by joy (Philippians 4:4).
SPEND SOME QUALITY TIME WITH WISE PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED LIFE. I get the feeling that Harry has seen a little bit of everything. He certainly seems to have a lot of wisdom from what he has experienced.
David prayed that God would “teach us to number our days” that we might present to Him “a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Solomon said that one of the purposes for the writing of Proverbs was so that we would, “know wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:2) He further says that we are to be “attentive to wisdom” (Proverbs 2:2), we are to acquire wisdom (Proverbs 4:5, 7), and that we will be blessed if we “find wisdom” (Proverbs 3:13).
One of the best ways to gain wisdom is by spending time with older people who are also wise. Please note that age alone does not bring wisdom, however when one has live a wise life there is much we can learn.
Today we didn’t have our usual “Bible Study” where I taught the class. Today I listened and I was taught by a wise man, my friend “President Harry!” What have you learned lately from some wise individual that you would be willing to share?
Dear Father, help us to be kind to everyone we see. Help us to exemplify Jesus with our lives. Help us dear God, to share the Good News with as many people as we possibly can. Father, may we gain wisdom from those around us who have lived life to the fullest. Help us to love life and to be thankful for the abundant life Jesus gives. In the Name of the One who brings true wisdom we pray, Amen.