17 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Luke 18:17 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
Two weekends ago, Susan and I traveled back to Stuttgart for my 40th high school reunion. And, I must say, we had a wonderful, wonderful time! There was a huge turnout for the activities. Our class had 201 graduates, and almost half of them returned for at least part of the festivities. That’s remarkable because the years have scattered us all over the United States.
I have to confess, I was feeling quite a bit of anxiety as I arrived at the reunion. It dredged up a whole gamut of emotions, all of the angst of adolescence. When we were teenagers, we tended to be irritable with one another—and sometimes downright unkind. (Maybe I’m a little vain, too, about how I look since I’ve gotten older. Time is a great healer but a lousy beautician.) But as soon as I got there, the hostess said, “John Cash, you need to get in there. Everybody is looking for you!”
In an instant I saw there was no need for my fears. Although we are all almost 60 years old, we embraced one another the same way we did when we were small children. Even though it was one of the most diverse crowds I’ve ever been in, it was one of the sweetest times Susan and I have ever had. I can’t imagine that the fellowship in Heaven will be much different than this.
Nancy Adams Branscum (who has been my dear friend since I sat next to her in 1st grade) summed it all up well with this comment on Facebook:
Lessons learned from a class reunion:
We focused on what unites us.
We cherished what was good in each other.
At times we laughed so hard that tears of joy sprang forth.
We knew that we truly wanted to see each other again.
Thank you so much RICEBIRD
Class of 1979, may we live our lives this way.
The more I think about it, the more I believe this is the key to everything. Wherever there are people these days, they’re having trouble getting along. For Pete’s sake, people can’t even live together peacefully in the same country! But what if we all focused on what unites us? What if we all cherished what’s good in one another?
Probably we’d be more like children — the ones Jesus talked about in the Gospel. The children who receive the Kingdom of God….
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 34 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where we’ve had lovely cooler weather this week.) You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.