Friday, January 7, 2011

I Want A Golden Voice Too

The story of Ted Williams, a homeless man from Columbus, OH, has saturated the news this week, and has seriously captivated not only my attention, but my heart as well.

If you are not familiar with this headline story, then below is a brief movie clip about how Ted's story began: (email subscribers: visit to view)

Yes, Ted does have an amazing voice. A voice that is distinct, noticeable, and unique. A voice that makes people notice him. A voice that is truly a "God-given gift", as it has been called.

But in my opinion, it is not the pitch, tone, smoothness or depth of his voice that makes his voice golden.

It is not his amazing story of drug and alcohol recovery, that makes his voice golden.

It is not the fact that someone recorded him on a street corner, and revealed his gift to the country.

It is not even about his unbelievable, overnight, rags to riches story.

Instead, the words that are being spoken by that voice are what take my breath away.

Golden words that have eternal significance, and earthly impact.

Ted Williams - despite all of his hardships, addictions, desperation, exasperation, homelessness, hunger, discouragement, shattered dreams - LOVES the Lord Jesus Christ, and his voice has made sure that millions of people know it.

He is not ashamed of the One who gave him life. He is bubbling over with thankfulness and joy for the One who allowed him to be homeless, and the One who has now blessed him beyond belief, pulling him from his deepest pit.

Despite the stigma attached to him as being a homeless person - despite the history of drugs and alcohol - despite the fact that his family and children were estranged -despite the fact that he made some serious mistakes - he knew Jesus loved him, and he was proud to shout His praise.

This story has affected me in lots of ways, but if I had to pick two, they would be this:

First, this story has really made me think, about my own life, my own heart, my own faith. Just recently, I was pondering all the things in my life that I wished were different or improved. I was praying and asking God to fix some things, make some dreams come true, answer some prayers....... but then I see Ted Williams.

A man who was at the lowest of low. A man with nothing.

Except a Savior.

He was a man who trusted in Gods promises, and whose faith kept him going - even when things were not obviously going very well on the surface.

How ashamed I felt to be complaining to God, asking for things, and worrying about circumstances, when I should instead be trusting God and praising Him for who He is.

Secondly, this story has reminded me of the joy that sharing Christ can bring. I have been starkly reminded that I need to remember to share Christ in my every day life, in the smallest of situations, and whenever possible.

God reaffirmed this reminder today when I was shopping at Target (one of my favorite stores!).

The customer in front of me paid for her items, and as she began to put her bags in her cart, the checkout lady proceeded to tell her about what a great day in the Lord it was, that He was our Savior, that God is good all the time, and she ended with,
"have a great day!".

The customer looked at me, smirked and rolled her eyes and went about her way.

After the checkout lady rang up my items, she said the same exact things to me, probably expecting the same response -- but instead I said "Amen to that!".

She gleamed with a bright smile and seemed a little shocked. But little does she know how God is using her to touch the hearts of those who are lost, but also those who are saved, and in need of a little reminding about the importance of sharing the news of our Savior with everyone we can.

In the interviews done with Ted Williams, he has been heard saying that 2010 was the year that he became reacquainted with his God.

Getting reacquainted with God - wow - what a simple statement, but a profound challenge for all who heard his story.

And to quote Ted's mom when she was saying what she used to tell Ted when he was struggling: "Get your life together, and don't leave God out."

Do you agree, that if we added both of those things to our new year's adjustments - 1) getting reacquainted with God in fresh, new and dependent ways, and 2)living a life full of God - that we too could have a golden voice?

I certainly do. Lets give it a try.

Good Morning America interview, Ted Williams and his estranged mother:


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