As Christians…God provides a “platform” for us to serve and honor Him. Each of us is different with talents and abilities. The question: Are we learning to know The Lord better…love Him more…serve Him better…and honor Him more? I heard someone ask. Are we content to just occupy space, breathe air and meander through our days on earth?
I am reminiscing about a late friend who discovered later in life that he had a platform to honor God. He admitted that success as the world knows it had become an obsession until God provided a dramatic miracle in his life.
Tommy Jett billed himself as “the fastest Jett to fly the skies”. Tommy was a well-known and loved radio personality in Chattanooga for several decades going back to the 1960s.
He literally ruled the radio airwaves in the tri-state area of Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama from WFLI Radio located on Lookout Mountain.
He was almost bigger than life; flamboyant personality, witty, charming; keen sense of music; words that captured the imagination of listeners. At live concerts and personal appearances, Tommy stood above the crowd with rings on every finger and cool shades.
My story now picks up on April 18, 2012. Tommy, an acute diabetic, was driving near Chattanooga when his blood sugar level dropped. He drove off the road. The car went airborne flipping over several times before landing in a clump of trees upside down. First responders had to extricate him from the crushed automobile before rushing to a hospital.
Tommy was placed on life support. While in a coma, a dozen doctors told his wife Charlene there was no hope. Everything was failing. She was encouraged to think about a funeral service. A suit was even picked out.
Denise, a dear family friend, bent down at his bedside and whispered, “Listen, you had better get your stuff together Buddy before they pull the plug.”
God had other plans…and gave a miracle. Tommy promised The Lord that he would honor Him by giving thanks every day… and to tell others. That he did using his celebrity platform at concerts, church, radio and television programs…and to anyone who would let Tommy bend his or her ear. He was on the telephone almost every day sharing his love for The Lord and to those he called a close, personal friend; a mission that continued until Tommy’s passing in the fall of 2018. I was one of those recipients of his encouraging telephone calls.
Though Tommy professed to be a Christian since he was a teenager, sometimes what we believe to be fame and success can blind us. Tommy often told me how it affected him. However, during the pinnacle of his radio success, a minister of the Gospel – Brother Eugene Coleman – along with Tommy and Larry Mason had an idea of starting The Carpenter’s Cowboy Church, one that would accommodate area entertainers and others who could not attend regular church services. Good idea…but with limited funds and no space…where?
The prayer was answered by the owner of a hotel; willing to give FREE space with a sound system in his bar. With the liquor bottles pushed aside, the church was begun. From its early beginning and continuing for two decades, Brother Coleman confirmed that over 5,000 decisions were made for Christ during services at the Cowboy Church.
Once when Tommy was traveling to do a personal appearance as a party DJ, an intense thunderstorm forced him to pull off the highway and seek shelter under a bridge. From out of nowhere, came a tap on the car window. Should he open the window…or ignore the stranger? He took a chance. Without saying a word, a homeless man gave Tommy a card that read…if you meet and forget me…you have lost nothing. But, if you meet Jesus Christ and forget Him…you have lost everything.
Tommy had an imagine of the Christian Cross tattooed on one of his arms…and also reference to the Bible promise found in 2 Chronicles 7 — 14. The artist who sketched those tattoos is known as Big Al…who let it be known he was far from being a Believer. Tommy always reminded Big Al that he would be praying for him to know Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord. Big Al would shake his head and tell Tommy that it was a waste of time.
Tommy’s response, “You need the prayers…and I need the practice. So I will keep on praying for you.” I am not sure if Big Al came to know The Lord. But when Tommy passed from this life, Big Al asked Charlene if he could lead the funeral procession to the cemetery by riding his motorcycle.
I believe Tommy’s prayers had an eternal influence on Big Al. My question: Are you and I using our platform to share The Lord and allow His Light to be reflected in and through us for others to see God’s reality?
Ralph E. Vaughn