JOHN AND LILA

JOHN AND LILA
By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Our son Joshua entered the "lineman" field because of one reason:
John and Lila.
John and Lila were in their early 80's, deemed an "elderly couple" when we intersected them through a call to ministry at a church in Northern Minnesota.
John fulfilled the definition of a hard working German to a Tee:
Muscular, strong, stocky, robust, and extremely hard working.
The smell of John was always intoxicating to me; this aromatic scent of soil, wood, earth, and sweat mixed with the smell of firewood, and you knew they burned wood continually.
It was in his clothes and woven into his red flannel workshirts;
A piece of his framework and his very being.
 He also possessed a mastery of words which drew my poetic soul to him like a bee to honey.
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They owned a beautiful large home hidden and tucked away in the winding trees and, not surprisingly, the hands of John had constructed it.
Lila, his beloved hardworking wife fortified the most extraordinary "farmer" meals I've ever witnessed and their daily meals looked like a repetitive Thanksgiving feast.
Our relationship with John and Lila always centered on God's word and our visits were rich and fortifying. We came away from them feeling uplifted and strengthened in our faith and in our relationship with one another, and we also walked with them through seasons of physical need and ailment that forged an even deeper bond.
We knew one another.
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Our son Joshua was 19 at the time, and home for a short visit, when he received a call from John and Lila for supper at their home.
Treating Joshua like an independent man and seeing "him" apart from "us" left an indelible impact on me and the remembrance of it still touches me profoundly.
John seized a moment with our son who at the time was uncertain of direction in his life and, over one of Lila's amazing and unforgettable meals, they talked.
Somewhere in that meal John suggested to Joshua that he give careful consideration to becoming a lineman. He spoke to his own son's background and vocation in the field and asserted that Joshua seemed a good outdoor fit for the job.
 Joshua listened to John because he respected him;
And a very short time later Joshua enrolled in a lineman school at Boise, Idaho, and today is enjoying a very successful and lucrative vocation as a lineman.
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John passed away this past week and a tender remembrance of him fills me.
Conversations and letters with Lila have bridged me to this new and difficult emotional season of her life and this weekend we will see her and attend John's funeral.
My preoccupation with this couple enlists three lessons learned from them which can be applied by any of us:
1) We are never too old to make a difference in someone's life. To share a meal and encourage another, no matter the age, is a practical way to love and serve the Lord.  
Give some thought to an individual you might invite to your table.
2) We each have the ability to speak into the lives of others. Age and experience are a dynamic and profitable match for the young and inexperienced. Contribute seasoned words to unseasoned lives and give counsel and encouragement as the Holy Spirit leads you. Build up a younger generation and invest by contributing advice and encouragement while you have time.
3) Think back on individuals who have had a "marked" impact on your personal life and contributed to steering you in a positive and productive direction ... and then let them know.
Thank God for that individual's impact in your life ...
And then pray to become that in another's.
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 "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him."
Colossians 3:17