As I think back on my life, there have been so many people who have done many thoughtful acts of kindness for me. I could probably write a series, but I won’t. I do; however, want to mention a few of them before I tell you about the greatest of all acts of kindness.
I started out with nothing, and as they say, I still have most of it! My family did not take vacations, so I could pretty much be like the ole boy who loudly and proudly proclaimed, “I ain’t never been nowhere!”
Because of the generosity of a friend’s mother, at age 15, I saw a beach and an ocean for the first time. She invited me come along with her and her son on my first real vacation. We visited Colonial Williamsburg, VA, Virginia Beach, and stopped for a couple of nights in Gatlinburg on our way home. All at no cost to me. In many other ways, and many other times, she treated me like one of her own.
My father died in my early youth, and my mother did not have the means to send me to college. I did; however, attend and graduate from college and seminary. Financially, that was possible only because of scholarships and financial aid available to students like me. Those helps were funded by individuals (perhaps like you), institutions, and my church’s denomination.
At age 34, I bought my first house. I could assume payments, but I had to pay $4,000 up front. It might as well have been 10 times that amount, because I didn’t have it. A man who was no kin to me, but had become like a father, gave me the money. I said, “I can’t accept this, because I don’t know when I can pay it back.” He said, “Did I say anything about paying it back?”
In 2007, about the time the housing market crashed, we put our house on the market and moved to Opelika. We couldn’t give our house away in that market, but thankfully Providence Baptist Church invited us to live in their Mission Home while we sold ours.
My precious wife, Jean, has been by my side during most of those happenings. I can’t begin to name all she has done for me, and the numerous sacrifices she has made. Her becoming my wife, my love, my best friend, and giving me 45 years by my side, was the second-nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.
Long before any of these things, someone gave me the greatest gift of all time. American soldiers gave their lives for me, so I could freely live in this great country.
For that I am thankful, but there is someone who gave his life for me, so I could live forever in heaven. After being beaten half to death, mocked and bullied, Jesus died a slow and brutal death by crucifixion. He paid a debt he did not owe, to give us a gift we do not deserve. On Good Friday, we remember his death and give thanks for his sacrifice for us all. On the third day after his death, he rose from the dead. While many others have done some wonderful things for me, nobody ever gave as much as Jesus. He not only gave his life for me, but the really great news is that he did that for us all. This weekend, we celebrate what he did. May this be a great time of thankful celebration for you.
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.