A LIVING THANK YOU CARD

7 05 2018

2018.05.09Thank You

My first full time job in Ministry was with an organization called “Youth for Christ.” While I was first assigned to work in South Jersey, I actually ended up serving for five years in the area that I grew up around North Jersey. My Boss was Ron Hutchcraft. I had already known of him because I had heard him on the radio. When he called me while I was still a senior at Philadelphia College of Bible, I was very excited and honored.

 I was newly married and ready to win the world to Jesus. I was never assigned a Youth Group but was given a map. It was my job to go and find the teenagers to work with. Before it was all said and done, I ran weekly Campus Life Clubs in Randolph and Roxbury on Monday, Mendham and Chester on Thursdays and Morristown on Tuesdays. I saw many teens connect personally with the Lord over these times when I wasn’t sure what I was doing but I was convinced of who I was doing it for. I did many unconventional events back then in what could be defined as truly unique ways but I was game for whatever it took to see Kids fall in love with Jesus.

 I learned lots from watching Ron do what he did. Our relationship may not have been the traditional Mentor-Student set up but I was taking mental notes all along the way. Nobody could say more in five minutes than Ron. I loved the way he used the radio as an instrument of heralding the gospel. He told everyday stories that opened peoples’ eyes to deep spiritual truth. He was funny and yet spot on with serious principles. He worked with his wife Karen as the dynamic duo. He included his family in the ministry. Life wasn’t compartmentalized. Everything and everyone was part of the journey.

 Human beings have a tendency to wait until it is too late to say the things that matter most. We allow the tyranny of the urgent to dictate our direction. Even though most people will swear that relationships come first, our practice doesn’t always back up our preaching. Unfortunately, I have officiated way too many funerals where what’s going on without saying is finally said. If there is anything to be learned from our mistakes, it is to make the people we love a true priority! Honor those you appreciate. Let those who impacted you the most hear your heart while it is still beating. Ron Hutchcraft said “Goodbye” to his beloved Bride Karen two years ago. I wasn’t going to wait another year to let him know how much he has meant to me.

 Last Sunday, Ron spoke at our Church. He actually snuck into our Saturday Service unannounced. Once I knew he was there, I was 22 all over again. I was actually nervous. And even though it all happened within 24 hours, God allowed me the opportunity to say, “Thank You,” while it mattered. I am so grateful that I reached out to Ron. He hasn’t lost a beat in banging that drum for God.

 So who can you honor? Who needs a note of appreciation? Who would benefit from an invitation to be reunited? Will you do it? Will you wait until it is too late? The older I get, the more I realize that each day needs to be unwrapped as the gift that it is. As George Bailey realized, I too have been given a pretty wonderful life. I am not a rich man in the area of finances, but when it comes to friends, my cup overflows. Thank You Jesus for the blessings that breathe and are fully alive. My cup truly does overflow. And thanks Ron for being patient with a 22 year old maverick who wanted to turn the world upside down. Because of you, God has actually helped me to turn things right side up!


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