Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
Reflections on the simple ways people make a difference in our lives
People touch our lives in different ways. Most brush past us in haste, paying us little attention. Some frustrate us in irritating ways, draining our joy. A few offer us their friendship, making a profound difference in our lives.
Those who make a positive difference do so in a hundred simple ways. I look back and review the faces of people who have made a difference in my life, and my gratitude is staggering.
There is Brother Si Mathison. I was a smart-alecky 13-year-old farm boy with no fondness for preachers or the church. Brother Si, and his sweet wife Mary, took a liking to me, made me feel like I was somebody. Soon, growing up under his influence, I feel in love with Jesus Christ and my life has never been the same.
Griffin Lloyd. A preacher also,
Joel McDavid, the pastor of
Paul Duffey. He instigated a phone call that changed our lives. One day,
shortly after graduating from
nobody, living at the time not far from
Paul Duffey, told me about you,” Newman said. “I need an assistant editor for
this magazine. You can do your seminary work at
months later Dean and I packed our bags and moved, with our infant son David,
How did we get there? It is not enough to say that it was the providence of God. God’s providence included a phone call made by a man who believed in me enough to recommend me to his friend. Paul made that phone call 49 years ago, and I have never forgotten his kindness or his confidence in me.
I had to work my way through college. One day,
an awkward freshman, I walked into the office of Bill Beckwith, then Director
of Sports Publicity for
I knew nothing about writing, especially sports releases for newspapers and radio stations, but Bill hired me anyway. He took me under his wing, taught me how to compose a press release, and how to find material for a good story.
by watching Bill. Daily he would write stories about the athletes involved in
football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, and other sports at
when the story was important enough, we wired it on
Years later, I thanked Bill Beckwith personally for all the help he had given me. Had Bill not hired me, patiently taught me, and opened doors for me, I would never have gone on to become editor of The Plainsman, a correspondent for several state daily papers, and finally editor of The Auburn Alumnews.
Looking back, I realize how incredibly blessed I have been by so many people who took an interest in me, helped me to believe in myself, and in many simple ways, made an eternal difference in my life. My gratitude is boundless.
The list of people to whom I am indebted is actually endless. The faces of many others crowd my memory, people who in recent years made such a remarkable impact upon my life. The words of the song come to mind, “How can I ever say thanks” for all the caring ways people have touched my life.
Looking ahead, I have found myself praying a lot lately, that when I am gone, there will be at least a few people who will feel that I made a positive difference in their lives. Is there really anything more important for which to live? + + + +