Life is full of people who do nice things just to get some favor in return. When I see people who show real love just because they are sharing the love of Jesus, then I believe my life has been truly blessed. I have witnessed this recently in the lives of my mom and step-dad.
About 50 years ago Dave(my step-dad) was pastoring his first church and met a man who became a part of his life forever. Eugene started coming to the little church when both of the men were in their 20s. Eugene was different than most of the people around him in the fact that he had cerebral palsy. He walked with a crippled limp and his speech was somewhat slurred. Dave befriended this man and Gene followed him to the different ministries that Dave became a part of. Dave made sure he had a place to live and proper medical help. Gene had very little family and after his mom died, there was no one except friends to take care of him. Gene received his high school diploma and had a paper route where he made many friends.
After my mom married Dave, she was introduced to Gene. Mom enjoyed making him feel special. I have talked to her several times on the phone to find that they had gone and picked up Gene and brought him to their house for the weekend. Mom would cook his favorite meal of fried chicken. When my family would go to Indiana for Christmas, we always made sure that we went to the home where he lived and had a Christmas concert. Our kids along with any cousins would play instruments, sing and visit with the residents.
Those who knew him also knew that he loved God.
He once told my Mom and Dave that if anything should happen to him in surgery, he knew where he was going. He also stood and testified in church that he was ready to see Jesus. He loved going to church and often asked those around him if they attended church.
I talked with mom a few days ago and they had gone again and spent time with Gene. They were disappointed to find out that he was not doing well physically. They received a call early the next morning to learn that Gene had crossed over into heaven. Mom was crying on the phone as she shared the news with me. I couldn't help but think of the memories they shared together with a man that would be considered "the least of these." They have been there for him through medical procedures, times of depression, and good times. They are mourning a real friend. There have been dear people help out by donating a burial plot, the funeral home has written off costs and made sure he has a viewing because the town folk will want to pay tribute to their former paper man. He will be dressed nice and have dignity in his death because of love. Any cost remaning will be paid for by my step-dad, the man who loved him through life.
What is heaven like for those who have never known what it was like to talk plain or walk straight. I can not even imagine!! I believe Jesus welcomed him with open arms and showed him his forever home. He is complete and whole!!
So, what do I take from all of this. We are called to love others-it is the greatest commandment! I am glad my kids have seen Jesus in their grandparents as they loved Gene. "Inasmuch as ye have done it uno the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40