I recently read of a rather strange proposal: Jake Hess said his wife laughed at him the first time he asked her to marry him. She explained how he asked her, “Would you like to be buried with my people?” (Certainly a unique proposal.)

Yesterday my mother and I took our annual trek to various cemeteries to plant flowers, place flowers, and to remember our people. We went to the Bessemer Cemetery to the graves of my father, brother and sister. We went to the west side of Youngstown to the graves of my father’s people: my paternal grandparents, and two of my dad’s brothers and their wives. My last stop was at Westfield Cemetery to Nancy’s people’s graves: her parents, and our nephew and Godson. Saturday, Nancy and I will travel to Sandy Lake Cemetery to Nancy’s mother’s people: Nancy’s maternal grandparents and her maternal grandmother’s siblings.

We are blessed to have people come into our lives, and sadly, the day comes when all we have are our memories, and we give thanks for the opportunity of loving them and being loved by them.

Death is a great teacher; it teaches us that some of the most important things in our lives are the relationships we have with others.

The following story explains what I am trying to say…

Ron was a fifteen-year-old, tenth-grade student at Granger High School. It was game day, and he was the only sophomore suiting up with the varsity team. Excitedly, he invited his mother to attend. It was her very first football game, and she promised to be there with several of her friends.

The game finally ended, and she was waiting outside the locker room to drive Ron home.

“What did you think of the game, Mom? Did you see the three touchdown passes our team made and our tough defense, and the fumble on the kickoff return that we recovered?” he asked.

His mother replied, “Ron, you were magnificent. You have such presence, and I was proud of the pride you took in the way you looked. You pulled up your knee socks eleven times during the game, and I could tell you were perspiring in all those bulky pads, because you got eight drinks and splashed water on your face twice.

I really like how you went out of the way to pat number nineteen, number five, and number ninety on the back every time they came off the field.”

“Mom, how do you know all that? And how can you say I was magnificent? I didn’t even play in the game.”

His mother smiled and hugged him. “Ron, I don’t know anything about football. I didn’t come here to watch the game. I came here to watch you!”

The moral of the story is: PEOPLE COUNT MOST OF ALL! Football is fine. Football is fantastic for some people. But people are supreme!

Here is another way to look at it:

One time, the popular actress Sophia Loren sobbed to her Italian movie director, Vittorio De Sica, over the theft of some of her jewelry. And he said to her, “Listen to me, Sophia. I am much older than you, and if there is one great truth I have learned about life, it is this: NEVER CRY OVER ANYTHING THAT CAN’T CRY OVER YOU!”

What a lesson! People are more important than things! People are more important than cars and computers. People are more important than our iPhones; so many of us miss out on face-to-face conversations with the people in our lives, because we are so addicted to our smart phones. 

People, our people, are far more important than things.

But this, my brothers and sisters, is the most important thing: “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people…” 1 Peter 2:10

Is there any better news? God claims us as God’s people!!! Which means, of course, everyone is our people! We can no longer say, "my people" or "your people." Because God claims us as God’s people, we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am so thankful that you are my people, and I am your people.

Pastor Russel

Photo by Jessica