Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thinking back

The most important thing in life is relationship. My relationship with God. My relationship with people. The only things of value we leave behind when we die are the lives we have touched. Money means nothing, possessions mean nothing, fame means nothing….

The currency of eternity is people.

I mentioned last week that I would tell you about a divine appointment I had with Rodney. Rodney tracked me down because of a book he found in his families library. It was a copy of a book by Tom Skinner called Black and Free. In the front of this faded old book was Tom’s signature and my name.

Rodney did a search and found me. We talked, and then met for coffee. He wanted to know about Tom and my relationship with him. It was a great time. But what it did for me is bring a flood of old memories of those days in the early 70’s….being at a white university in the south, the KKK all around alive and well, and me, a little white boy from Iowa in the middle of something I had never experienced before.

It’s a long story, but I was able to get Tom Skinner (photo), an amazing evangelist and black Christian revolutionary of the 70’s, to come and speak at our little white university. It caused quite a storm, and nearly cost me my college education. The next year I brought in his associate, Bill Pannell, to speak for a few days. It was my first experience of real racism when we went out for dinner together, and were refused service.

Rodney’s visit spurred my thoughts, so I did a search for Bill Pannell and found him. He’s now a retired professor at Fuller Seminary. I sent him a note, and he responded with memories of those days and our failed dinner together. It was still sharply in focus for him as well.

And so I come to this as I look back on my life so far….it’s the people in my life that have meant the most. All the “stuff” of life is either lost, forgotten or thrown away, but the people and their memories will be with me forever.

If you want to make an eternal difference here is the list beginning with the most important-

1. Pursue a relationship with God through faith in Christ as savior and passionately pursue God as the most important thing.
2. Love people, pursue relationships, gather friends, care about people, invest all you have in others.
3. Use things. But only use them as a means to achieve #1 and #2.

There’s my list. It’s what I have found myself doing over time, and although I have few riches I feel like the richest man in the world!


susan in fm said...

Mike, this post blessed my soul today. Thank you for posting it. I love your quote "The currency of eternity is people." Talk about powerful. Wow.

Great story, too!

Anonymous said...

Well said brother Mike, love conquers all and is the only thing really worth pursuing. (outside of the Lord of course, who is the source of our love.) If we have not love,then we have nothing!

Lindsay said...

Great post.
I'm so proud to be your daughter.
I love you, Daddy.

lu said...

What an awesome story of Rodney seeking you and you seeking Bill. It is amazing how a moment in time with someone can impact us for a lifetime.

My mother-in-law once told me she felt she had less freedom now than she had when she was young (in the 1950s). I reminded her a black person of her same age probably wouldn't say the same thing. She had to agree. It is amazing to me how people can hate someone based on skin color. I just don't get it.