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Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

Matthew 25:37-40

"Then the righteous will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You? Then the King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least one of these brothers of mine, you did for Me' "

Saturday I conducted a funeral service for a 34-year-old developmentally disabled man named Erik. As I spoke with family and friends about what they remembered about Erick, a picture developed in my mind. He was a man who loved work. He enjoyed doing the best job possible and was always eager to do exactly as he was taught. In his childlike mind he trusted in the Lord with a simple faith.

It made me think of a little man I had known years ago. His name was Roscoe McPhee. I met Roscoe when I served as Pastor of Discipleship at First Church of the Nazarene in Nampa, Idaho. Roscoe found a welcoming home in our church and was always faithful in his attendance.

Roscoe was rather small, seldom spoke, but was able to communicate with signs and sounds. I felt drawn to spend time speaking in a friendly way to Roscoe. I soon discovered that he was starved for attention. There were several other developmentally disabled folks who attended our services, but Roscoe was one I felt drawn to work with. It was not a burdensome task, but a friendship I found very enjoyable.

It was not long after I started spending time to show Roscoe kindness and attention that he would make a beeline for me after the service and stand in front of me with a crooked smile on his face. He seemed to be waiting for me to banter with him. It struck me that this man, in his early forties, desired to be treated with as much normalcy as possible. I would gently joke with him and he loved it.

During these times, I think Roscoe taught me more than I taught him. He taught me that everyone has value and needs to be treated with dignity. He taught me that giving of oneself without consideration of return is of great merit. It was a time for me to learn that you can share with your life, the teachings of Jesus without words of intellect. It was caring and paying attention that mattered to Roscoe. I wish I could let him know what he meant to me.

I left that assignment and assumed the position as pastor of a church in Burns, Oregon. Later, when I returned for a visit and attended the services at First Church, Roscoe made a beeline for me with his special grin.

There was a little ritual that Roscoe and I developed. He loved to bowl. Each week when he went bowling with others from his group home, he would record the scores of his games in a tiny little black book. Each Sunday he would give me his black book and I would make exaggerated gestures over his scores. He would literally beam with delight as I made over his accomplishments.

One of the men in the church was a very godly and mature Christian. One Sunday Roscoe handed him his little black book, but instead of looking at the scores, John put the book in his pocket and started to walk off. It was a moment of panic for Roscoe who chased after him, making sounds of concern. John was embarrassed and felt so bad at his over-sight. He came and told me of the incident and said he thought it was a small copy of one of the Gospels.

That incident is so characteristic of how we can overlook or misread those around us with great needs. By the way, John immediately became a source of encouragement for Roscoe, giving praise each Sunday for the scores carefully recorded in that little black book.

There are people around us who have needs. They may not have the same needs as Roscoe, but they need attention, concern, and a hand that reaches out for the "little black book" in their lives and praise them for what they have done that past week. Thanks, Roscoe!

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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