Man of the Year

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Are you up for a pop quiz today? Good, tell me what these people all have in common:

Charles Lindbergh

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Adolf Hitler

Joseph Stalin

Elizabeth II

Pope John XXII

Ayatullah Khomeini

Lyndon Johnson

Ronald Reagan

Now that is a wide range of people, from presidents and evil dictators to a religious leader, to a pioneer of flight and a queen.

Got it? Give up?

What they have in common is that they were chosen as man of the year by Time Magazine. Obviously they choose their man of the year by impact on the world irregardless if that impact was good or bad. I only hope the queen was not upset at being called man of the year!

Having looked at the entire list from 1927, I have come to the conclusion that I need my own man of the year, so today; November 20th 2008 I will be naming the Simple Truths Man of the Year.

I have a man in mind already and really he was the only candidate. This years Simple Truths Man of the Year who unfortunately went on to be with the Lord on August 2nd at the age of 46 is John Mark Stallings. Let me introduce our man of the year to you by providing quotes of those who came in contact with this special young man.

Linda Knowles who was John Mark’s dad’s secretary at the University of Alabama said this, “There weren’t any live he touched that weren’t made better by his influence.” Dr. Martha Cook, executive director of Rise School since 1986 said this, “Johnny was an unequaled role model to all of us. He has so many gifts of kindness and maturity.”

John Mark was the son of former Alabama football coach Gene Stallings who lead them to a national championship in the 90’s. Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore said this about the coaches son, “For someone who never played or coached a game, I think John Mark may have touched more Alabama fans than any other person ever did.” Laurie Vanderpool, John Mark’s sister said, “He just had a genuine impact on people, really because he cared. He would focus in on the people for who they were and what they were doing for him. He didn’t care about their success or their status.”

One last quote comes from Johnny’s best friend, the man he called ‘pops’, his dad Gene Stallings at a Rotary Club luncheon in 1988, “I say John is lucky, but actually we’ve been the fortunate ones. This was very difficult at first. We didn’t want to believe it. But the good Lord knew what was best for us. Our lives have been blessed. He has put sweetness in our lives.”

The man of the year was born five days after me on June 11th 1962. He was born with Down syndrome. At his birth he was given only a few years to live. But live he did, just combine the comments about him and there is one theme; people were better because they knew him. Nothing more needs to be said. What more could you ask of the man or woman of the year?

Born with a disability, with health issues that would follow him all of his life; born five days after me who was born with good health and all the advantages a man can ask for yet if I live to be a 150 years old I will never touch as many lives as John Mark.

What a blessing it would be if at the close of our life someone could say, “They added sweetness to our lives.” Oh if we could have such a heart like that.

In honor of the man of the year and His Lord, we should at least try, shouldn’t we?

Scripture: Galatians 5:22 & 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to have a sweet spirit one that is filled with your love and grace. Please use us in such a way that the world sees your sweet heart of compassion. Break us of self pride and self sufficiency; help us to lean on you. We ask all these things in the precious and holy name of Jesus Christ.


all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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