Maybe you haven’t heard of Johnny Barnes before, but he’s very famous in Bermuda. Johnny was known as Mr. Happy Man and had a unique ministry on his island nation. From 1986 through December 2015, nearly every work day—rain or shine—Johnny was at the Crow Lane roundabout where a large number of commuters from the western and southern areas of the island passed during rush hour. As a matter of fact, he was so regular that people would call into the radio programs if Johnny wasn’t there because they were concerned about him. He was known for saying “I love you; God loves you!” to all the passing commuters.
Johnny passed away in July 2016 at age 93, but his positive impact will forever be remembered in Bermuda. A few years ago, several businessmen commissioned a statue of Johnny costing over $70,000 that has been erected only a few yards away from where he stood for up to six hours a day greeting everyone who came by. Several documentaries have been filmed about his life and his unpretentious method of caring for people.
In Mr. Happy Man, filmed in 2011, Johnny identified himself as a Seventh-day Adventist who “was motivated to share God’s love for everyone.” What greater motivation could you have than “God’s love for everyone” to draw you into blessing others?
Here’s a simple question. What are you doing to bless the citizens where you live? We are not all wired to witness the way Johnny did, but each of us has something we can do to show God’s love to those in our communities. This, by the way, is how the apostle John says we will be identified as Christ’s disciples: by our love (John 13:33-35).
As a generation looking to be translated when Jesus comes, we should take a page out of Enoch’s story, since he was one of only two in biblical history to be taken to heaven without seeing death. How did Enoch live his life? What was his passion?
In Patriarchs and Prophets, Ellen White says this about Enoch: “The infinite, unfathomable love of God through Christ became the subject of his meditation day and night; and with all the fervor of his soul he sought to reveal that love to the people among whom he dwelt. Enoch’s walk with God was not in a trance or a vision, but in all the duties of his daily life. He did not become a hermit, shutting himself entirely from the world; for he had a work to do for God in the world. In the family and in his intercourse with men, as a husband and father, a friend, a citizen, he was the steadfast, unwavering servant of the Lord. . . . And this holy walk was continued for three hundred years” (p. 84-85).
This issue of OUTLOOK focuses on connecting with and building peace in our communities. I pray for that peace for each of us so, like Enoch and Johnny, our ability to love will always abound.