When I was 13 years old I went to Summer Camp, and the counselor for my cabin of 8 boys was a young single guy who’s name was Mr Titus. The counselors had what they called “Camp names, ” so I don’t remember if that was his real name or his camp name. He must have been around 20 years old because I do remember him saying that he had just finished his second year of college. He brought with him to camp a box of brand new, leather-covered Bibles and said that he would give one to any boy who would commit to reading it every day for the next year and reading through the entire Bible in the year. I remember thinking that reading the Bible all the way through was going to be a formidable task but the offer of a nice Bible for free was more than I could resist, so I made the commitment and took on the task. I faithfully kept the commitment of reading every day and reading every page, chapter, and verse in the Bible. I was 13 years old then and 72 today, and I have read the Bible through at least once every year since. I am now a man of “The Book, ” the a Bible has shaped and influenced every area of my life. When I get to heaven I am going to find Mr. Titus, and tell him thank you!
When I was 12 years old and in the sixth grade my teacher’s name was Mrs. Williams. On the very first day of class she got a TV hooked up to an antennae in our class and we watched a lot of the 1960 Summer Olympics for the next two weeks of class. A highlight for me was watching Cassius Clay, who eventually changed his name to Mohammad Ali, easily win the gold medal in the light heavyweight class.
Mrs. Williams had a collection of paperback novels, about 30 books, written by Bernard Palmer for young boys, called the “Danny Orlis” books. In the series, Danny Orlis was a high school-aged boy who grew up in the “Lake of the Woods” in upper Minnesota, hunting, fishing, and having many adventures. He was a committed Christian and dealt with all the temptations, challenges, and experiences in his life using principles from the Bible. Mrs. Williams offered to give anyone who read one book in the series each week an “A” in Reading. I liked to read and jumped at a chance to get an easy “A” for doing something that I loved doing. The lessons in those books still pop into my thinking as I write sermons today, and they have influenced my decisions in life ever since. When I get to heaven I am going to find Mrs Williams and tell her thank you!
I am sure there are many other people who have had a major, positive influence in my life. When I get my new, glorified body in heaven, I will remember who they all are, and I will tell them all thank you for their part in making me the person I will be in character in heaven.
We all have had many people who have had a positive influence in our lives, if possible we need to tell them “thank you” now, and not just wait until we get to heaven.