Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Thoughts - Milton Perry

Last Summer I was asked to speak on a Summer series at the Graymere church of Christ in Columbia, Tennessee. After the service, an older gentleman came to talk to me. His name was Milton Perry. Mr. Perry was 96 years old at the time that I met him. We talked for about 15 minutes and I know he would have talked longer if I could have stayed. He told me about the beginning of the Graymere church, his presidential appointment to postmaster in the Post Office, and his years of preaching the gospel.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine handed me a newspaper article that contained Brother Perry's obituary. On the back of the paper, his grandson had used a full page ad to print the final letter Milton had sent to him. Here is what it said word for word:

"Today is the day proclaimed by the Massachusetts Governor of the Plymouth Colonies, Gov. William Bradford, as a day of Thanksgiving on December 13, 1621. On November 26, 1789, President George Washington proclaimed it as a National Holiday. This day was when everyone in the U.S. were to give God thanks for their many blessings.

Today I am both mindful of, and thankful for, the many blessings that He has bestowed upon me. Foremost among these blessings is the gift of such a remarkable, loving and caring grandson. My life would have been truly a dismal abyss without you. Every moment spent with you has been a joyous occasion. I well remember the many trips that you have provided me to such places as Nantucket, Bermuda, Cancun, and various other enjoyable resorts, that I probably would not have been privileged to enjoy without you. Since the days of your infancy and teen-age years, you have been a ray of sunshine in my life, always flashing a big smile, an optimistic outlook on life, and a winning personality, befriending everyone you meet. I suppose the greatest joy that you afforded me was when you made the decision, at an early age, to obey the gospel and be baptized into Christ. I pray that you may always remember that your "Priority" must be (Matthew 6:33) and live by the two "Greatest Commandments " as stated by Christ in (Matthew 22:36-40). Then, finally abide by the admonition: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10).

To me, heaven would not be a true utopia for me if you were not there. So resolve to "Meet me in the morning" where we'll live forever where there will be no heartache or sorrow and no parting. This life is but a proving ground to qualify us for heaven.

My prayers are with you always. May God richly bless you."


Papaw (signed Milton Perry)

On this November 26, 221 years to the day after George Washington proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving that inspired Milton Perry's letter, I would like to offer some Thanksgiving thoughts of my own:

I am thankful that we still live in a nation where we can rejoice about someone obeying the gospel in a full-page newspaper article.

I am thankful for Pawpas who love their grandsons enough to give them a Christian heritage.

I am thankful for meeting Milton Perry, and the opportunity I had to talk with him on a Wednesday night after services in 2009.

I am thankful for the fact, that as I begin a new preaching work, there will be more people out there like Milton Perry who will become a part of my Christian family. I can't wait to meet them.

I am thankful for the lesson Milton Perry taught the rest of the world, simply by living the Christian life, and loving God and the church more than anything else.

Thank you, brother Perry - I will "Meet you in the morning..."

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." ~ Rev. 14:13

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this.
    It is certainly uplifting and for sure a great lesson and a new page for each of us to file in our minds forever.
    Tom Stanford