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Carol and I left Wimberley, Texas, several days ago where we spent three days with a friend I met back in 1981. As always, we enjoyed the time with Mike and Debbie Casey.

Mike and I worked in the aircraft tooling department at the Rockwell International plant in Tulsa. Early on, neither he nor I knew how to take each other: He was a fun-loving practical joker, and I was fun-loving but learned how to practical-joke. It took us several months to solidify our friendship; but after that, we locked in. The boss liked us, but also recognized and appreciated our vocational skill level; if there was a critical job to do, he would call either one of us.

Mike had a weekend business of teaching flight instructions and took our boys, Ron and Jeremy, and me up for a flight. His business card said, "For Expert Flight Instructions, C. Mike Casey." (You might have to read that sentence out loud to get the pun.)

Mike is well-known throughout Wimberley. His opinions and expertise are sought on numerous occasions, and I found that many people and businesses owe him favors. As an example: after we ate our dinner, the proprietor said to Mike, "There's no bill. It's on us."

"No you don't." Mike retorted. "I want to buy my friend's meal."

"What's going on?" I asked, as I sipped on my coffee.

"This restaurant, in a way, saved my life."

"Really? How?"

"When Debbie and I moved to Wimberley, I was in pain -- still am -- was in depression and always felt sorry for myself. 'Why must I suffer so much?,' I often asked the Lord as I sat right here in this café. I came here at least once every day just to think.

"Then one day, I saw a man come in on a wheelchair -- he had no legs. A day or so later, I saw a man come in with only one arm. And that's how it went. I finally woke up to the fact that others are worse off than I am. Taking my attention off myself, I turned my energies to helping others.

"One day I overheard the workers here talking about their poor computer system and the problems they were having. I talked with the owner, Mac, and advised him how to fix it. He liked the ideas and offered to pay me to do the job. I told him if he bought the hardware, I would create his system and install it for no charge. I did, and word began to spread.

"The owner eventually sold the café, but he still owns the RV park you and Carol are staying in. I wired that for Wi-Fi and cable TV for no charge."

"Is that why Mac isn't charging us for the stay? I'm your friend, and it's an indirect way of returning a favor?"

"Yes. I discovered that as I continued doing things for others, I began feeling a lot better. I'm still in pain, but it's less bothersome. Does that make sense?"

"Sure does."

Mike told me much more, and explained that investing his time to help others was therapeutic for him. Still in pain, Mike sees life from a higher plane. When I met Mac, the RV park owner, he said, "Mike is a bright light here in town. We all appreciate him."

"A bright light in town." That's a wonderful tribute.

What's the purpose of light? It illuminates. Light reveals or enhances color in nature and in pictures. It helps us diagnose problems and expose danger. Light enables us to understand life more completely. And that's what Mike does for people -- but not for personal gain. He doesn't desire recognition, and that pleases God.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:5-7 that when we do things egotistically to make ourselves look good, human accolade is the only honor we'll get. But He also said when we do things to help people and honor God with pure motives, God Himself will honor us in addition to any human accolades -- if we get them -- and continue the honor in the heavenlies. God honors his children who love Him and obey Him, and he has eternal honors waiting to bestow on us when we see Him face-to-face.

Not only is Mike my friend, but he is a Christian brother whom I'll see in heaven some day; and he'll be pain-free then, for there's no pain in heaven.

-- Gene Linzey is a speaker, author and mentor. Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 05/08/2019

Print Headline: A bright light in town

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