posted on Friday, February 14, 2020
One person can make a difference. I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it, I’ve felt it.
Coach Thomas changed my life, and if you spent any time with him, he changed yours too. He couldn’t help it and neither could you, it’s just what happened when you got in his orbit, you changed. You became a better version of yourself.
Coach Thomas breathed life into people. He lifted people up. He treated everybody like they were somebody. He saw the potential in people even when they didn’t see it in themselves. In all the years I knew him, I never heard Coach Thomas say a bad word about anyone.
If you’re like me, it’s easy to think the special qualities we see in others are somehow out of our grasp, reserved for just a few. But to me, what made Coach great was simply the passion he had for what God had called him to do with his life. Coach loved the Lord and loved people. He understood his mission field was a football field in Parkersburg, IA.
If you love someone or something, you’ll do all kinds of things that don’t make sense. Coach Thomas loved Aplington-Parkersburg High School and Falcon Football in a way that might not have made sense to some folks. As Coach would say, “Outside of my faith and my family, this football team is it for me.” I loved that about Coach. He believed Parkersburg, IA was the big time and if in some way your life intersected his, well then, you were big time too.
In his book, “Love Does,” author Bob Goff states, “I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, now I know you just have to say yes.” I’m so glad Coach Thomas said yes to what God had in store for him, countless lives have been changed because of it.
I don’t know where you are on your journey but I do know that making the big time has nothing to do with how much money you have, what kind of car you drive, or what you do for a living. Making the big time means you have a relationship with Jesus and out of that relationship, you love your neighbor as yourself (even the difficult ones). When we love people like Jesus, our focus becomes making a difference in the lives of other people.
Many of us are limited by the gifts we have but simply don't use. That could change today if you wanted it to. Life’s too short to wait. Love shows up. Love does. Why not make the phone call, send the letter, or make the visit? It might not be easy, you might have to forgive or ask forgiveness, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
People waited over four hours to pay respects to the Thomas Family on the day of Coach’s funeral visitation. I’ve been told as many as five thousand people attended his funeral. People didn’t come because he was a great high school football coach. They came because Coach Thomas spent his life helping others. They came because ‘love does.’
Coach Thomas loved the Lord and is in Heaven today because he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. The Bible says in Mark 8:36, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? " Life happens fast, our days here on earth are not guaranteed. Asking Jesus to forgive your sins and accepting Him as your Savior will change your life today, tomorrow, and for eternity.
Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 10:9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. "
Every day’s a gift. An opportunity to show kindness, serve others, and leave people, places and things better than you found them. Life’s too short to sit on the bench. Get in the game and go make a difference right where God has you. Love does!
Kelly Williamson & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation
This post is written by Kelly Williamson. Kelly has been a coach and educator for 19 years and currently serves as principal of Madrid Jr/Sr High School in Madrid, IA. Kelly played for and coached with Coach Thomas and Coach Kerns at Aplington-Parkersburg High School. Kelly and his wife Danelle have three children Elijah, Lauren, and Joseph.