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Luke 17:12-16 – As Jesus entered a village, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, have mercy on us!” Jesus looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priest.” As they were walking away, Jesus healed them. “ONE” of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus and thanked Him for what He had done. Well, it’s Christmas time, and so the melee begins!! The rushing around, the credit card debt, the stress and all of the other unnecessary pressure we create at Christmas.
Every year it’s less and less about the creator of our Salvation, and more about the things He gave man the ability to create. The single greatest gift mankind will “EVER” receive is Salvation!! Notice that I said “GIFT!” Money can’t buy it, man can’t control it, society can’t dictate what it’s worth and it’s free for anybody that needs it.
For this article, I wanted to do what the leper did after Jesus healed him. I wanted to come back to say “thank you,” for what you did for me. And that thanks goes to this wonderful friend, and “LIFER!”, Tunisha Barnett Thorp!
When it comes to the gift of Salvation, God can, and will, use many different ways to offer it to us. For me, at the single lowest point of my life as a homeless addict, the good Lord chose to use her loving, willing heart to reach me with His unchanging love!!! In life, people come and go. God is not a wasteful God, but a God of GREAT purpose, so everybody that comes into our lives has a purpose. There are three types of people that come into our lives:
- Reason People!
- Season People!
Reason People are the ones that show up with a selfish agenda. They wow you, compliment you and cater to you with a grand scheme in mind!! To “TAKE” all that they can from you that benefits them, with no intentions of ever pouring back into your life at all. They drain your strength, they drain you mentally and they drain you emotionally.
In the end, all you’re left with is people debt. They make you feel like you owe them something all the time. What should we learn from Reason People? We should learn that the only reason we can see selfishness in them is because that same selfishness exists within us.
Season People are sent by the Lord for a short stay. Just for a season. And they’re usually the ones that are the hardest to let go of. They come along and add so much joy to our lives. Season People are always sent to make life better and to grow us up and out of the things that may have us bound. They always give and expect nothing in return.
And so when their season is over, and they’re ushered out of our lives, it hurts deep and for a very long time. None of us have ever seen any natural season last forever. And it’s the same with Season People. At some point, the season has to change and come to an end.
Tunisha Barnett Thorpe is a “LIFER!” Lifers are sent by God, to be used by God, to do some of God’s greatest work!! They have a very special way of getting through to you like nobody else can! They’re humble, soft spoken, giving, patient, forgiving, encouraging and they’re loyal!!
“Let me tell you what Jesus did for me!” That’s how God used Tunisha to be a bright light as I walked around in my dark, addicted world! She didn’t judge me, didn’t preach to me, didn’t point out my shortcomings or keep her distance!! She drew close and talked about the goodness of Jesus!! I loved hearing it, because it gave me hope when I had no hope all!! I was completely broken and saw no hope in being fixed. Lifers just seem to find a way to make you think twice about things, especially your own destruction. No matter how fast I was living, Tunisha had the ability to make me slam on the brakes, think and breathe!! She was the only one that was able to do that!!
She explained to me that Jesus had greater things in-store for me, and that He could heal me from all of the hurt and pain. She didn’t do it with words, she did it through how she lived for Him, and through a humble, non-judgemental heart. Nothing I have “EVER” experienced in my life has had a bigger impact than my Salvation and my relationship with Jesus. I don’t always take the best care of it, I don’t always treasure it like I should and I have taken it for granted many times. But to this day, I have “NEVER” received a greater gift than the gift of Salvation.
Jesus created Tunisha with the ability to put this sweet gift in a box, beautifully wrap it and present it to me. She held my hands, led me in the prayer of Salvation (Romans 10:9-10) and I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior that beautiful Summer day.
Tunisha!! This article is just me coming back to say “THANK YOU!” Thank you for patiently, humbly waiting at the cross for a knucklehead like me!! I could tell back then that it was all starting to take a toll on you. “But You Waited!”
I remember you saying you heard God tell you to be patient and “wait,” because I was coming home soon! And I did, because you did!!! “You Waited!” I love you beyond anything you can imagine!!
We will forever be connected in spirit!! You are my “LIFER!”
Story and photos courtesy of Jimi Clemons.