This week’s story stirred when Emily came to Tim’s Gift two days after the Rise Up, Recount Love conference, telling how her life was changed. I knew we were to share her story; yet, God had another ending in mind for this first story about a person doing good things and sharing the love of the Lord throughout our community. Tuesday morning, I opened my computer to add finishing words to this story before prayer time. A phone call brought news that Mr. Jesse Lindsay passed away during the night. Prayer partners gathered around the table to pray and ask God to bless and be with all people needing help and hope. We thanked God for the Lindsay family and prayed for peace to fill their hearts and turn their sorrow into sunshine. When darkness settles in our lives, we can count on God’s promise of heaven and a helper here. Going through the valley is easier when we are connected to the Keeper of the Sheep and have assurance of His guiding light and unconditional love.
Three weeks before the Rise Up Conference, I walked into Piggly Wiggly with hopes of Mr. Lindsay becoming a sponsor for the event. I stood at the door of the deli restaurant with hesitation. Mr. Jesse and his wife, Hilda, were having a late lunch with friends; I did not want to interrupt, but the stirring to go and ask grew greater. So, I did. He and his friends listened as I told how I felt this was a calling from God for revival in our community. He promised to call with an answer, and he did with a resounding ‘yes’! Joy rose up inside when I met with him and his administrative team to plan. His support grew stronger as days before the conference grew shorter.
One day we climbed the steps to his office to discuss details about having a mini Piggly Wiggly inside the Agri Expo Center. Asking him to pose for a picture as a platinum sponsor brought a prophetic response from this business man who has contributed countless blessings to our community and served the Lord with gladness. His sheepish smile broadened with words that stuck in my heart, “I would rather not be in this picture Becky. I am ready to take some things off my shoulder and let the younger ones take the reins. It’s time to do that. Let’s get Marshall and Michael together for that picture.”
We talked a lot in our brief time together about life and how we aren’t promised tomorrow. We shared stories of being the leader, the ‘go to person’ of a business. I had always known Mr. Lindsay, respected him, and saw the good things he did for Christ and our community, but I really didn’t know him. That day, I felt a close connection to a man whose wisdom and leadership are highly respected by me and many whose lives he has touched. I left that day with admiration and a bond of Christian love for a family man filled with faith, a gentleman who stood tall for his beliefs and worked hard for his business.
At the Rise Up, Recount Love Conference, Mr. Jesse was so proud of his Piggly Wiggly family and the booth where homemade sausage and cookies filled the air with aroma of down home cooking. He stayed throughout the day, joining James and me for a late lunch at our big round table. Soon, Patty Cherry and my niece, Kandi, took a seat and what a sweet time of fellowship we all shared. We talked about the joy of watching people enjoying the day, of those in our community who have been sick and some who recently went to be with Jesus, of the uncertainty of tomorrow, and the need to rise up and share our love openly for the Lord and loved ones. Mr. Jesse was so happy as we talked and enjoyed a good meal together. I was drawn closer to him and Mrs. Hilda as we shared stories from our hearts. My faith is strengthened as I write about a man I always knew, but never really knew until the last three week of his life. I recount Mr. Jesse’s words with wonder. I thank God for this mighty man who generously and faithfully served God and gave back to the community throughout his lifetime. I am thankful I knew him personally, even though it was only weeks before he would go to be with Jesus. Mr. Jesse Lindsay walked the walk and talked the talk of a caring Christian. He stood tall and proclaimed his love for the Father and his family.
This story reminds us that we may know about God but not truly know God. Being closely connected to the Father is a blessing many people miss. Having a personal, right relationship with our Lord and Savior is a choice we make. Take time to sit down and have a little talk with Him today. God desires for us to stay connected and keep a direct line open for communication. He is the giver of all good gifts. I praise Him today for all the people whose hearts have been stirred, lives have been changed, and stories that will be shared as we Rise Up and Recount Love. Next week, I will tell Emily’s sweet, sweet story of her life and love for the Lord. Everyone has a story. One day people will gather to reflect on your life, as family and friends are doing for Mr. Jesse today.
Make sure your love story includes Father God, family, and friends in right relationship. Do you really know Him, them? May you be drawn closer to the Lord and your loved ones, for your story on earth will one day end and eternity in heaven or hell will begin.