Monday, May 19, 2014
But these four men, Larry, Hal, Mike, and Jack (L to R), all former students of ours when we taught at French Camp Academy in MS from 1960-63, along with a notable group of others from that era, brought into sharp focus the truth that when your past catches up with your present it can be an experience of pure, living grace. These men and women - whom we knew as teenagers with all those dynamics plus being subjected to our feeble teaching attempts - who have experienced the good stuff of life and gut level challenges of the deepest sort, brought a dynamic of grace to that gathering that left a permanent heart smile in my sweetie and me. Obviously God planted truth in some good soil. The fruit it there. The level of care for each other - even though fifty one years later - was indeed impressive. To all of us who've been there, FCA is a special place. Most of all, special people. Grace will do that to a person.
I learned a powerful leadership lesson at FCA. Dr. Sam Patterson, the President - and like few leaders who've crossed our path in fifty four years of ministry - operated from the premise he had no kingdom to protect. More than that, in our efforts to impact those young lives, his word to us was, "What can I do to make you successful?" A Godly man of pure grace.
We arrived at FCA fresh out of Seminary, two years newly married with two (no comments) precious little girls, and broke. Mr. Pat (his honored name) asked me to go to Greenwood to speak in the Presbyterian church for him. He claimed he had other obligations that Sunday. Here's the kicker. Mr. Pat stayed home that day. He had me go because he knew what the honorarium would be. With the tiny trailer loaded with our few belongings evidencing our financial state, Mr. Pat graced us by sending me...an unknown to speak for him. That $100 (remember this is 1960) is indelibly etched in my bank of "ah ha" moments. That's why Mr. Pat sent me. Grace lived. Grace touching lives. Mick, go and do likewise.
Our time at the recent FCA reunion was memorable. Thanks, all you fellow FCA-ers of those days. God enabled you to survive us well. His grace has not failed in you. As the Apostle Paul said of himself in I Cor. 15:11, "God's grace was not wasted on me." Indeed.
It is O.K. for your past to catch up with you. As long as grace comes with it.