I just visited with two giants at the airport in Dallas! Today Laura and I were getting ready to board a plane and I heard a familiar voice. I looked over and it was Hodge. Now for those of you who weren’t raised in the church of Christ Hodge is Charles Hodge. He is one of the greatest preachers of our day. He has been a close friend of our family for many years, and since moving to Dallas we have become even closer. Hodge lives in Dallas and he along with his wife were flying on the same plane that we were on. It just so happens that Hodge was talking to another one of the great men of our day, Coach Gene Stallings. So of course I had to have my picture made with them (it kind of felt like being in the presence of royalty!)
My first real association with Coach was when we were students at Freed Hardeman and he came to speak for a fund-raiser. His speech is still fresh in my mind after thirty years (but more about that in a moment)!
The next time I had the privilege of being around the legendary coach was through our work with Rainbow Omega. I was serving on the Board for Rainbow Omega when he came to Montgomery to help us with one of our benefit dinners. My job for the evening was to be his host.
There are a number of things that stand out about the day that we spent together but the one I remember most is about his signing autographs. We had agreed on a time for Coach Stallings to sign autographs prior to the meal and his speech.
It was time for us to begin the dinner but there were hundreds of people still in line waiting for an autograph. I walked over to the coach and said, “Coach Stallings I know we agreed to stop signing, but all of these people are still in line, what would you like to do? He said to me in that gruff, powerful voice, “We should do what we said we will do, let’s eat!”
Of course I said, “Yes sir.” Then I had to tell all of those people we had to stop and begin the dinner. When it was time for his speech the coach stood and said, “For anybody who didn’t get an autograph I’ll be at the table after the program is over and will be happy to sign an autograph for you!”
I was amazed. It had already been a long day for him but he didn’t want to disappoint any of those fans. He stayed around for about two hours late into the evening and signed every autograph. When he was finished he signed autographs for the people who were cleaning up the building! I said, “Coach, thanks for signing all of those autographs, you didn’t have to stay this late to do that.” He said, “I am honored to do it!”
That night driving home after a day I will never forget his speech from FHU days came to mind. There was a phrase he kept repeating over and over throughout the entirety of his speech. With each point he made he would conclude by saying, “It’s about doing the right thing.” He would make another point and then add, “It’s about doing the right thing.”
Now I know there are some who are reading this article who may not care much for Coach Stallings. Maybe because you don’t care much for Bama or maybe there’s another reason you don’t care for the Coach. However, it has been my experience in my association with him that he attempts to live by that statement, “It’s about doing the right thing.” Now there’s a lesson we should all learn.
We Should Do the Right Thing When It Comes to Our Relationship with the Lord
The right thing is to glorify Him with our lives. “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The right thing is to live every day of our life in obedience to Him. (Deuteronomy 27:10) Too many Christians want to do what they want to do and give little attention to what God wants. This is true in their worship and in their daily walk with the Lord.
We Should Do the Right Thing When It Comes to Our Relationship with Our Family
Marriages will be stronger when we do the right thing, rather than the easy thing. The right thing is for husbands to love their wives like Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5) and for wives to live in submission to their husbands (Ephesians 5). The right thing is for parents to teach their children the Word of God (Deuteronomy 6). The right thing is for children to be obedient to their parents when they are young and to honor their parents as they grow older. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
We Should Do the Right Thing When It Comes to Our Relationship with Our Fellow Christians
The right thing is to love one another (John 13:34), to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11), to speak with kindness toward one another and forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32), and to help each other through difficult times (Galatians 6:2).
We Should Do the Right Thing When It Comes to Our Relationship with Non-Christians
The right thing is to not be influenced the wrong way by those who are not Christians (1 Corinthians 15:33). The right thing is to share the Good News with as many people as we can (Romans 1:15-16). The right thing is to let our lights shine in a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16).
What a blessing to visit with these two giants today. They stand tall because of their teaching and their life. While we were visiting Coach Stallings said, “I was so sorry to hear that you lost your Dad, he was a great man.”
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for allowing us to cross paths with great people from time to time. Not people who are perfect, but people who are trying to do the right thing. Help us, Dear God to always try our best to do the right thing in all of our relationships. Help us Lord, to grow closer to you and to those around us each day. We thank You most of all for Jesus, our Savior, who always does the right thing. In His Precious Name we pray, Amen.