Randy Twitty is the baseball coach at Sumter High School. And he's also a friend I've known for about 30 years. I've always looked up to him, and I enjoy his company whenever we get to visit.
One year at Christmas in the late 80's, some of us guys were over at Randy's home. It was my brothers, Condy and Wyman, my future brother-in-law, Hayne Painter, and me. As usual, we were having a great time. Randy said, "Hold on a second, guys. I'll be right back." He went into his room and came back into the den with a big paper bag from Simpson's Hardware. Then, while shouting out, "Merry Christmas!", Randy emptied the bag in the middle of the floor. There, before us, was a huge pile of gray sweatshirts. We all dove in and grabbed one. And of course, we were thrilled with it. I wore that cool sweatshirt for years and always remembered Randy's one gift for all.
God has also given one gift for all. Years ago, instead of opening a Simpson's bag, God opened up the Heavens and extended all of us a gift. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..." Jesus is God's gift to everyone. Each and every one of us are offered the opportunity to receive Jesus into our lives. When we welcome Him into our lives, He forgives our sins and saves our souls.
Randy provided sweatshirts for each of us, and God provides Jesus for each of us. And through Jesus, God grants us salvation. He doesn't want any of us to miss out on this amazing gift. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Isn't that great?! God doesn't want anyone to miss out on the salvation of Jesus. He provides enough for all of us, if we will just receive it.
This Christmas, I hope you receive some nice gifts. That's always a fun experience. But most of all, I hope you receive the single, greatest gift of all: Jesus and the salvation He brings with Him.
Thanks, Randy, for the sweatshirt. You're a great pal! I'll never forget it.
And most of all, thank you, God, for giving us Jesus. You're a wonderful Lord! And we'll always remember it.
P.S. Just for old time's sake, here is a picture of Randy and me goofing off at someone's house here in Sumter in the late 80's. Yep, I was still a high school student at Thomas Sumter. Those were good times!