"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." "You have refreshed the hearts of the saints." These are words from Scripture that I all too often take for granted. Oh my goodness do I take them for granted. These post-graduation days as a member of the corps of alumni of Boyce College have been spiritually tumultuous at times to spiritually tepid. In the midst of the struggle, two brothers have blasted in from my past, two men who are living legends to me, James McCray and Jim Winn.
My first memory of James McCray is a little too awkward for this blog, but after a few months at Boyce, I got to know the half-Korean guy from Slocumb, AL who lived across my hall. I learned that he was just as crazy as I thought he was, if not more, but there was method to his madness. Having served four years aboard a nuclear sub prior to Boyce, James was free from the confines of work, and we truly began to bond when James served me by helping me with a class project that involved several hours of prayer walking and survey work. We led a prayer group together, hit the streets witnessing together, and I learned about the work God was doing among the Dogrib tribe in the Northwest Territories of Cananda. Although the work was incredibly tough, James was called by God to go there, and go he did. After having sacrificed a summer and a winter break to short term work there, James signed up for a two-year church planting internship there through the North American Mission Board. While there, the strangest thing happened: He found a godly Christian women and married here. Now they're returning to Louisville for further study at Southern, sent as missions from the NWT to Louisville. James encouraged me this week to be completely honest with God, reminding me that God is not surprised by my sin nor does he love me any less when I do stumble.
Jim Winn was student council president when I entered Boyce, so I looked up to him quite a bit, but all the more so when learned that we both loved the Washington Redskins. Even though he was 27, he reached out to who was then a 17 year old kid (or at least I was for my first few weeks of school). He took me to the Washington Redskins fan club and even more so, helped me find ways to minister and serve at Boyce. Tonight I was honored to him again, but honored even more to meet his future wife Tessa. It was a blessing to no end to hear them talk about how their relationship began and to be edified by them as they gave wonderfully sound spiritual advice about the topic of relationships in general. My words are failing me as I attempt to write about all this evening meant to me (or what the nights with James has meant, or what last Saturday with Toto meant), but all I can say is that which Paul says of Philemon:
"I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, becuase I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you." Philemon 4-7