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Friday, December 28, 2018

John and Janice Shavers

I'd Rather Have You

John and Janice Shavers were visiting with their son, Mike, and his family in Mobile several years ago.  At the time, John was working with Norfolk Southern Railroad in Atlanta, Georgia.  Despite the miles between them, the family would get together every two weeks.

This visit found the father and son back on the golf course.  As they walked up on to a tee box, John told Mike that Norfolk Southern had offered early retirement to upper management employees over 55 years of age.  At age 56 and in his position, John qualified.  John went on to tell his son how much he loved his job.  He was a National Account Manager and his job was to maintain a good relationship with Norfolk Southern's largest customer: Georgia Pacific.  Some of the benefits of his position included a membership to a Country Club and box seats to Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons ball games.  As a part of his work, John would take VIPs of Georgia Pacific to play golf, see professional ball games, and eat at nice restaurants.  He was also responsible for resolving any problems that would arise to keep a great relationship with Georgia Pacific.  John was good at his job and his company had awarded him with company stocks and large bonuses ever year.  If he passed on the early retirement offer and continued to work for another nine years (until the age of 65), John told his son that this could mean a large sum of money for him and his sister when he and their mother passed away.

"What do you think I should do?" John asked his son.

Mike responded, "Dad, I'd rather have you in Mobile for the next nine years than any amount of money in the future."

John replied, "Son, you've helped me make up my mind."  From that tee box, John called his boss, the Vice President of Norfolk Southern, and told him that he would take early retirement.

Why?  Because spending time with family is more important that being able to spend a lot of money.

John and Janice moved to Mobile, spent lots of wonderful time with their children and grandchildren, and never regretted taking early retirement.  Twenty-six years after taking that early retirement and spending it with his loved ones, John Shavers passed from this life, leaving behind a legacy of love, faithfulness to God, and a lifetime of memories.

Relationships.  That's what matters most in life – more than all the money in the world.  The Shavers family will affirm that truth to you.  They will also tell you that there is one relationship that is the most important of all: your relationship with God.

A relationship with God provides salvation, hope, and eternal life to come (1 Peter 1:3-4; Romans 6:23).  If there is no relationship with God, then there is sorrow with no hope and eternal destruction (1 Thessalonians 4:13; Matthew 7:13-14).

The good news is that God wants to save us and have a relationship with us!  In fact, He has made it possible for us – even though we have sinned – to be reconciled to Him through the blood of Jesus Christ His Son.  Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), but God gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).  We can be reconciled to God through Jesus when we accept His offer of salvation and eternal life on His terms.

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  When one is baptized into Christ, he/she is born again into the family of God, the church.  God will continue to cleanse His children from sin as they continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).

"I'd rather have you."  May that statement remind us of the preciousness of our relationships with family and friends.  May it also remind us that God would "rather have us" in heaven with Him after this life, and He proved it and made it possible by giving His Son to die for us.

Won't YOU accept His offer of relationship and eternal life?

-- David A. Sargent

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