Those Were the Days: A Star in My Crown


This is a special story about an event that occurred in my early life as a newborn Christian. I haven’t shared it with many people, but I want to show you what it means to get a star in your crown.

This story starts in 1958. I attended Rice University, Houston, Texas, on a full basketball scholarship. This was my senior year. My Rice team had just beaten Baylor. 

It was about 10:00 p.m. After changing into regular clothes and eating a nice dinner, we were on our chartered bus heading back to Houston from Waco. I had recently become an avid Christian, and I always carried a pocket-size New Testament with me and read it daily.

So, I’m sitting in my seat with the nightlight on, reading the scripture, when a player, who stood 6’7” and was from Milby High School, Houston, nicknamed Willie, drops into the empty seat next to me. His first comment was, “What’s that you’re reading, Zeke?” (My nickname.) 

I spent the next few minutes telling my friend about the true gospel (not the watered-down version of ‘everybody who is good enough gets into heaven’ or Jesus didn’t resurrect, but the disciples stole His body!). I didn’t know much, but I knew Jesus loved me! We read John 14:6 together. 

That night, Willie became a Christian.

After graduating from Rice, he went to law school and married a Christian lady. They had two children, a boy and a girl. Willie and his wife lived in Conroe, Texas, where they were active in a great church with programs for their children.

Their son, David, upon graduating from high school, went to Texas A&M, where he was active in ROTC. Upon graduating, he joined Campus Crusade for Christ staff. He talked them into letting him start an evangelistic program for the Corp of Cadets at TAMU. There were 3,500 cadets at that college. That was in 1988.

Today, that program has 121 campuses and ten-plus staff members on each campus. It calls its program “VALOR,” and it is now international as well. This month, it focuses on South Korea, where 8,000 cadets met from all over the world to learn how to share the gospel with other cadets in their nation.

Willie (now goes by Bill) and Sharon are retired and living in College Station, Texas. We are still close friends and active in the same Bible Church. It is good to have friends from long ago come back into your life in your “golden” years.

I write this NOT to brag but to show you what can happen when one person shares his faith! That one person can make a difference all over the world. “Let your light so shine that others may see it and be saved,” Matthew 5:16.

As Christians, our Lord tells us that we will receive rewards for what we do for Him in this life. I encourage you to share your life whenever you can.

Ahhh, this is your chance to gain a star!

“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 NRSV