Eternity is rushing towards us.
You and everyone else must be ready.

Drop an “O”

Jun 20, 2024

Marie is a waitress at a restaurant where I was having breakfast one morning. I have been there several times. She came up to me and asked if I would walk over to one of her tables with her. Seemed like an odd request, so I asked her why. Well, she was having a discussion with a husband and wife about children. They apparently made a comment to Marie that she would probably have shorter kids since she isn’t a very tall lady. She wanted to “show me off” as her child to this couple!

So, I walked over to their table with her, and she told them that she wanted them to meet her son. I bent over and hugged her and said, “Mom, how are you doing today?” You should have seen the look on their faces!

But there was something else going on as well. Marie is a shorter, black woman, and I am a taller, white guy. The expressions on their faces were priceless. As I was talking with “mom,” the lady at the table said, “Oh, he must be a stepson. He must be a stepson.”

Maybe yes, and maybe no. Couldn’t I have been one of those recessive gene kids? Those are really some beautiful children. Couldn’t Marie have adopted me? I have seen more than a few times where children didn’t match up with the color of their parents’ skin because they were adopted.

Well, we had a good laugh, and I went back to my table

Running into the Unexpected

KV, the manager, came over to my table and wanted to chat. She was just going through some things in life and wanted to bounce her thoughts off of me and get some advice. As we were talking, I looked back over my shoulder, and the couple was still there. I love to bless people, and many times I will pick up someone’s meal in a restaurant. So, when Marie came by my table again, I asked her to give me their bill, as I wanted to treat them.

Now, typically, I walk over to people at their table and tell them why I wanted to pick up their tab, but Marie likes to tell them right away that I paid for their meals! Oh well. She walked back over and handed me the man’s business card. When I looked at it, I knew exactly who he was. Certain images, places, and times of your life are indelibly imprinted in your mind. Tommie Smith was his name, and many of you know him as well.


So, I picked myself up, walked over, and sat down at their table. We do that in the South! I asked him to tell me about the biggest blowback he received from the stand he took on that Olympic platform. Interestingly, I don’t remember the answer. Why? I am not sure, but I am sure of one thing: I was focused on something else.

How Are You Living Your Life?

When I started talking to them about Jesus and salvation, his eyes lit up. We had a good conversation about the Christian life. He told me that he was a deacon at his church and mentioned the church’s name.

I encouraged and challenged him by saying that, since he said he was saved, he should be standing very boldly for Jesus and reaching the lost.

He was very intrigued by some of the witnessing encounters I have had and the people I have witnessed to. I then asked him, “Is John Carlos saved?” He looked at me, got big eyes, and said he didn’t know.

Okay. Wait a minute. If you truly love the Lord and you were friends with someone who was part of one of the most iconic moments in Olympic history, wouldn’t you know if that friend of yours was saved? Wouldn’t you make sure you took the time to witness to that person to make sure they were born again?

He and his wife love to read, so I ended up giving them three books and some booklets. We had a really good conversation. He actually just had four toes amputated because of complications from his diabetes, so please take the time to pray for him.

The Legacy You Leave

I did some research on Tommie when I got back home. As I was looking at his website, I noticed there was nothing on it about Jesus.

I read that a documentary had been made about Tommie. I looked it up and noticed something right away. Always look for clues in life; they will typically lead you to some answers. What I noticed was that Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, Jemele Hill, and Raphael Warnock were interviewed for that documentary. It was easy to deduce what the focus of the documentary was probably about.

If you are not old enough to remember the late 1960s, talk to some folks who lived through those years. It was a crazy time. The Vietnam War, Woodstock, protests, the Civil Rights Movement, and many other events were all taking place at the end of that decade.

As I shared this encounter with a couple of friends, they specifically remembered watching the Olympics with their fathers when this event occurred. They both recalled their fathers saying some unkind things toward the television. One friend told me that his dad even hurled the “n-word” a few times at the TV as well. Hey, by the way, isn’t forgiveness a wonderful thing?

Drop an “O”

But all of this got me thinking. It seems like the human species loves doing “good” things, however you define that. It could be standing up for civil rights, human rights, black activism, BLM, climate change, Palestine, a certain political party, human trafficking, etc. It seems like we love to have a cause. But then we take that cause and make it a major part of our lives. As a matter of fact, we are frequently known for the causes we stand for.

1 Samuel 17:29

And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?

David had no trouble finding a cause. Letting Goliath mock the God of Israel? Please. No can do. A man of God can’t stand for that.

1 Samuel 17:36

Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.

David knew who he was going to be standing up for. And He was worth it.

But all of this got me thinking. What if what we stand for is a good thing but not a God thing? Some things are just good. They really have no eternal value, but they are good. But what if we have one too many “o’s” in the word? What if, truly, we should be spending our time doing “God things” and not “good things”?

How about we do a lot more praying?

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Pray without ceasing.

How about doing a whole lot more witnessing?

Mark 16:15

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

How about? How about? How about?

I understand that a lot of people want to be known for being a “good guy” or a “good person,” but what you really want to be known for is being a “God guy” instead.

Following Up

I sent an email to Tommie after our encounter. What follows next is part of what I wrote to him:

“I was checking out your website, and I had a question for you. When I was going through the different tabs, I didn’t see anything about Jesus on there. So, my question is, ‘Do you stand up more for the rights and equality of black folks, or do you stand up more for Jesus and what He has done for everyone down here?”

He hasn’t responded yet. I was trying to encourage him to be about the Lord’s business, doing “God things” that will have eternal value instead of doing things that the world likes but won’t count for eternity.

Life can go by pretty fast. You can go from a gold medal to having four toes amputated in the blink of an eye. It is one of those reminders that tell us we need to be spending our days doing “God things” and not just “good things.”

Until the nets are full,

P.S. What do you do if your mother is legally blind? You sit and listen to One Heartbeat Away with her! That is what Carolyn is doing with her mom. Great idea, by the way. Please pray for these folks.

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