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  • Pastor Ralph

The Most Excellent Way

Ted Stallard undoubtedly qualifies as the one of "the least." Turned off by school. Very sloppy in appearance. Expressionless. Unattractive. Even his teacher, Miss Thompson, enjoyed bearing down her red pen -- as she placed Xs beside his many wrong answers.

If only she had studied his records more carefully. They read:


1st grade: Ted shows promise with his work and attitude, but (has) poor home situation.


2nd grade: Ted could do better. Mother seriously ill. Receives little help from home.


3rd grade: Ted is good boy but too serious. He is a slow learner. His mother died this year.


4th grade: Ted is very slow, but well-behaved. His father shows no interest whatsoever.


Christmas arrived. The children piled elaborately wrapped gifts on their teacher's desk. Ted brought one too. It was wrapped in brown paper and held together with Scotch Tape. Miss Thompson opened each gift, as the children crowded around to watch. Out of Ted's package fell a gaudy rhinestone bracelet, with half of the stones missing, and a bottle of cheap perfume. The children began to snicker. But she silenced them by splashing some of the perfume on her wrist, and letting them smell it. She put the bracelet on too.


At day's end, after the other children had left, Ted came by the teacher's desk and said, "Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother. And the bracelet looks real pretty on you. I'm glad you like my presents." He left. Miss Thompson got down on her knees and asked God to forgive her and to change her attitude.


The next day, the children were greeted by a reformed teacher -- one committed to loving each of them. Especially the slow ones. Especially Ted. Surprisingly -- or maybe, not surprisingly, Ted began to show great improvement. He actually caught up with most of the students and even passed a few.


Time came and went. Miss Thompson heard nothing from Ted for a long time. Then, one day, she received this note:


Dear Miss Thompson:

I wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class.

Love, Ted


Four years later, another note arrived:

Dear Miss Thompson:

They just told me I will be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be first to know. The university has not been easy, but I liked it.

Love, Ted


And four years later:

Dear Miss Thompson:

As of today, I am Theodore Stallard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I am getting married next month, the 27th to be exact. I want you to come and sit where my mother would sit if she were alive. You are the only family I have now; Dad died last year.


Miss Thompson attended that wedding, and sat where Ted's mother would have sat. Love won out at the end of the day!


It is Valentine's week and I wanted to start off with this story. It is a powerful demonstration of what love declared in kindness can do in someone’s life (1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)). I want to say thank you to all who have believed in me and have encouraged me over the years. Your love has transformed my life. The Apostle Paul says, “And now I will show you the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31 (NIV)). It is the most excellent way for it glorifies God and demonstrates His love for us. It changes lives. Amen!


In His Love,

Pastor Ralph




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