(James Wesley Wells Jr)
When I was a kid I had the privilege and the horror of having my Dad teach me in Sunday School one year. It was good because he made sure that I knew all the answers. It was bad because when your Dad is the teacher there is zero chance you are going to get away with anything in the mischievous realm. I honestly don't remember very many lessons from those years, however there is one lesson my Dad taught and lived. He told us whenever you get in a situation where you don't know what to do, ask: What would Jesus do?
Now before you think that Dad was ripping off the WWJD campaign of the 90's you need to realize that my Dad said that in the 1970s. The major point that I want to make to you today is not so much that I think my Dad invented WWJD, but my Dad lived WWJD so much so it cost him everything.
In 1979 our family owned a small grocery store that was known for having the finest meat in the county. People would shop for groceries at other stores and drive upwards of 15 miles just to buy their meat from my Dad's store. Wells Self Service was a staple in the small town I grew up in and made my father a decent living. On a fall night of that year everything changed.
Dad was the Captain of the volunteer Fire Department and was called out to a fire on the opposite side of town from where we lived. On arriving he surveyed the situation and began to radio directions to the fire truck as how to proceed. For some reason his radio wouldn't work so he started to run around the house that was on fire to give directions to the truck in person.
Now my Dad could run, and as he rounded the side of the house in the dark a freak accident occurred. He ran dead into a metal clothesline which nearly everyone had in those days. The line caught him in the mouth, lodged up into his back teeth and stuck. The force of the blow threw his feet straight up and on the way down literally cut most of his top teeth out.
As Dad hit the ground his right hip was broken, but somehow he managed to get up and make his way to the Firetruck. The story goes that the first man who saw him got sick to his stomach, and my Dad was rushed to a hospital 10 miles away. Upon arrival as they were wheeling him into the Emergency room my father noticed that his Dad's doctor was leaving. He called out to the Doctor and asked if he would look at his situation. The Doctor replied: "There is a good intern on call". My Dad answered: "Please I would like for you to see me".
The Doctor had my Dad's hip x-rayed, and determined that nothing was broken. He then sent my Dad to the Dentist to get his mouth sewed up. For the next week or so my Dad could not walk, and laid in his bed in unbearable pain. Finally my mother took him to a different Doctor who after requesting the all ready taken x-ray found the hip fracture immediately. He was told that it was too late to reset it, and as a result my Dad never walked without a cane again.
The results of that night were life changing for my Dad and my family. He soon went on disability and lost his business and his main source of income. My family went from having what they wanted to struggling to get anything we needed. In the next few months and years lawyer after lawyer contacted my Dad telling them that he had a text book law suit and should sue the Doctor for everything he could get. My Dad refused over and over again to ever bring a law suit against the Doctor's negligence.
When I turned 16 years old I was sitting down with my Dad on his day bed that he kept in our living room, and I asked him why he never would sue that Doctor. What he said made one of the greatest impacts on my life.
My Dad said: "Son, that man was leaving and I called him back in to see me. He didn't ask for that, I did. When they asked me if I wanted to sue him I didn't know what to do. So I asked myself What would Jesus do?
As a result of that injury my father went on to have 18 major surgeries, and eventually died at age 64. I never heard him question God one time. My Dad wasn't perfect, but he truly lived:
What would Jesus do?