In yesterday’s blog I shared about how to be sensitive toward new believers. One person who did that was Eleck Hensley. As we approach graduation our thoughts naturally go to him. Last October when Eleck went to be with the Lord, I wrote this blog. I thought it fitting to share it again:
In Matthew 25 Jesus gives a surprising view of the end of time. He pictures himself seated on a throne judging people from all the nations. The people are separated into two groups–just like a shepherd would separate sheep from goats. Jesus, the King, looks at the ones on his right and says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Jesus continues, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” The righteous people answer with surprise that they have ministered to the King like this. “Lord, when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” The King answers, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
When I read this, I was not surprised at the outcome: God has always rewarded faithfulness and obedience. I was surprised at the surprise of the righteous people: they had no idea they had ministered to the King Himself! I think Eleck, when welcomed into the presence of Jesus the King, was just as surprised.
This weekend, I received an email from Avery Poteat’s father. You may recall that Avery is the young man with autism whom Eleck nominated as homecoming king, campaigned for and celebrated when he won–just two days before he went to see King Jesus. Alan, Avery’s dad, wanted us to know the rest of the story:
Dear Hensley Family,
I have heard many wonderful things about Eleck and I just wanted to add what he means to my family.
I asked my son to recount the first time he met Eleck. He said it was in Mr. Jones’ class in the tenth grade. He sat down and Eleck asked him his name. I remember when I asked him how his day had been he said he had met a guy in his class and his name is Eleck. My son sometimes struggles with names and so I challenged his pronunciation of Eleck’s name to which he insisted, “No! His name is Eleck!” Throughout that year when I would inquire how his day had been he would often say, “I had lunch with Eleck and some of his friends,” or sometimes he might tell me something Eleck had said or done. When the yearbooks were delivered that year, my son made sure to show me Eleck’s name. He then proudly said, “I told you daddy; I know my friend’s name.” The thing that I admire about their friendship is that Eleck chose my son, not because of what he could gain in the eyes of the world, but he shows the love and compassion of Jesus.
Moving forward to a couple of weeks ago, my son came in and announced that he had been nominated to the homecoming court. This past Thursday night we were completely surprised by the outcome. As we talked to one of Avery’s teachers it was stated that he had voted for Eleck. The teacher said that she was almost positive that Eleck had voted for Avery. It was then that I had an idea Eleck was the one that had thought so much of someone else that he deferred the possibility of homecoming king. I confirmed this when Brother Jerry was interviewed on WLOS. I would later find out that he had not only campaigned for him, but also stood up to those that would say negative things about my son. Oh, that we all could have the kind of integrity that God gives and Eleck possesses.
I have used the present tense on some statements because I believe that there are some things left to this story. I cannot fully back this up with the Bible, so as Paul said I speak as a man. It is my deep desire, when I get to heaven and I have worshiped around the throne of God, if it be God’s will to allow me to remember this time, I am going to find Eleck and thank him so much for the love of God that he bestowed to my son.
The other thing that I believe will happen is when my son gets to heaven, if there is a welcoming party that Eleck will be there and say, “Hey pal, we’ve been waiting for you. Come on. Let me take you to see Jesus.”
I close with the words of a song from Andre Crouch.
It Won’t Be Long
It won’t be long… till we’ll be leaving
It won’t be long… till we’ll be going home.
Count the years as months,
Count the months as weeks,
Counts the weeks as days…
Any day now…We’ll be going home.
You all are in my family’s prayers.
W. Alan Poteat
Every Avery needs an Eleck. Who’s your Avery?