The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
The following is a repeat, originally written and distributed many years ago. I recently had occasion to revisit the place mentioned, and to remember with gratitude an experience that will always remain in my heart involving the Lord, His restraint, and a gentleman I have long admired.
As a child, I loved professional football, I loved the Green Bay Packers, and I loved Bart Starr. I long ago lost interest in pro football and the Packers. However, I still greatly admire Bart Starr as a person far more than as a football player.
Mr. Starr is legendary here in his home state of Alabama. Certainly, Bart's on the field exploits in a football-crazy state have much to do with his notoriety. However, people more love and respect him for the life he has lived and the things he has done as the expression of God's grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. I recall a story told by a gentleman whose car broke down on the highway. Many drivers passed by without stopping to help. Finally, a car pulled over behind the stalled vehicle. The driver of the car who graciously offered aid was Bart Starr. This is one of many stories told by Alabamians about a man honored as the 1960s Player of the Decade in the National Football League. Mr. Starr has quietly honored his Lord with a life of self sacrificial devotion to God and people.
I have a personal Bart Starr story. A few years ago our family stopped at a fruit stand in central Alabama. The stand is known for its peach ice cream, and we went in to enjoy a treat. As I stood in line, a man passed by, leaving the store. I took little notice, but soon realized that Bart Starr had crossed my path. Through the windows of the building, I could see him getting into his car where his wife waited. Rather than immediately leave, they sat in the car, enjoying their ice cream.
I faced a dilemma. A strong inclination gripped me to go out to the car and tell Mr. Starr what a blessing he had been to me, both as a football player and as a Christian gentleman. For nearly a half century, he has held a special place in my heart. I finally had the opportunity to tell him so. However, another thought came to mind, which eventually guided my actions. People of prominence such as Bart Starr have a difficult time finding private moments to simply enjoy the small things of life. Moreover, I could say nothing to him he hasn't heard a thousand times. The interlude with his wife did not need to be interrupted. I therefore decided to thank the Lord for a nice blessing, and allow Mr. and Mrs. Starr their privacy.
I have always been glad I did that. It would have been nice to actually meet Bart Starr. I found it far nicer, however, to exercise the same respect he would likely have shown, given the same situation. In fact, I think my actions in that moment were guided to some degree by the things I knew to be true of Mr. Starr. He serves as a prime example of a Christian gentleman. I want to be the same. It says much about Bart Starr that he could inspire such a determination, and it says even more about the Lord Jesus who so lives in God's trusting children that they can have such profound influence on each other. Mr. Starr gives glory to His Savior for the life he has lived. He inspires us to give the same glory to the Christ who shines so brightly in people who trust and submit to Him. People like Bart Starr.
"As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
(I Corinthians 1:31)
Weekly Memory Verse
Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men.