This morning, I went for a walk with my neighbor, Mary Beth. Some of our conversation was of a man that we both knew who went to be with the Lord yesterday afternoon. My paths crossed with him for years starting when I was in the 1st grade and hers in his latter years in her position as a nurse.
Growing up, I was bff’s with his granddaughter Kelley and used to see him all the time when we had sleepovers. A dentist by trade and a quiet yet powerful man of God by choice. During our years in high school he was a staple at every volleyball and basketball game we played. He had his spot in the gym he would faithfully fill. He had a love for sports at Lincoln Christian, but more than that he had a passion for Who we played for. This is the signature at the bottom of a letter I found in my high school sports scrap-book sent to each team member days after we won the schools’ first volleyball championship in 1986.
He not only congratulated us for our win, but he encouraged our conduct and Christian testimony. Dr. Tom knew that no matter what, if we didn’t represent our King, no medals earned held any purpose.
As Mary Beth and I walked and talked, I shared with her what he did for our family. When I was entering 7th grade, Lincoln Christian School had just built its first building. Many parents volunteered to help cut the cost of labor with many hours spent trying to get it ready so we could start school in the fall. My little sister and her friend were messing around on a cart used to move heavy items. She was being pushed on it very fast on the cement floors when the cart wheels hit a bump and she went flying off it of face first into the cement. She got up crying and missing a front tooth. Never experiencing this before, my Mom frantically called Dr. Tom and asked if she should take her to the emergency room. It was a Saturday afternoon and he told her to meet him at his office.
He wouldn’t accept any payment for the tooth or even his time. My Mom told me today “at that time there was no way we could afford to fix it; he was such a blessing.” Awhile later, my sister had accidentally chipped the fixed tooth, but kept it hidden from my parents. She was spending the night with Dr. Tom’s granddaughter, Keeli, when he asked her how the tooth was. She kept her lip tight over her teeth and muttered that it was fine. Like any wise dentist, he made her open her mouth and show him. He told her to get in the car and he took her to his office and fixed it for her again. My Mom just found out about that blessing today when I busted out my sister’s secret.
A man full of generosity, quiet blessings and Jesus.
My neighbor, Mary Beth, is a nurse and she shared how she would go see Dr. Tom monthly at the apartment complex he lived at with his bride Mimi. She told me how he loved to teach God’s Word. She shared something I didn’t know about him…how he held Bible studies for the fellow residents of his building and also taught at his church.
A man full of conduct and Christian testimony.
What I got from our conversation about Dr. Tom was this…CHOICE.
Dr. Tom didn’t have to live for Jesus, but he did.
He didn’t have to bless others, but he did.
He chose to teach others what he knew and loved of the Savior he is with now.
He made choices that will affect many for years to come.
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He chose for His inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth—He who forms the hearts of all, who considers all they do.
Dr. Tom lived a life with purpose. A life that will be missed, but rejoiced. A life that was not only watched by God, but by others. A life learned from and carried on. A life that God can say because you chose Me, the purposes of My heart will live on through all generations.
When we choose to live a life for and with Jesus, it becomes a life that is blessed and copied.
Dr. Tom chose Jesus and left a legacy that extends beyond his family as it pours over into many Lincoln Christian families, past and present. And also into anyone who crossed his path, even if it was just once a month.
Please keep Mimi and their entire family in your prayers. Because Dr. Tom didn’t keep it a secret of Who he would be spending eternity with, his family rejoices that one day they will see him again. He will still be missed greatly by his family, his Lincoln Christian School families and many more.
Choose today whom you will serve and do it with focus so that God’s purposes of His heart will live on for many generations. The bottom line is that we are all going to leave behind a legacy, but it’s up to us what kind we leave and Who we will be known for.
Dr. Tom, thank you for blessing my family and fixing my sister’s tooth…I would have made fun of her.
You are truly now in His Name…go worship…like never before.
Lea (as he knew me)