While in Junior High school Ronald Reagan came to speak at one of my school assemblies. This was long before he became Governor of California or President of the United States. I believe he came to my campus because he was concerned for my generation and what it might have to encounter in the years ahead. I still remember he was a very kind man who encouraged us to not only make a difference in our families but for our county as well. Needless to say, I voted for him several years later when he ran for office.
My memory of his kindness and encouragement was just one of many as I discovered when reading an account of him the other day. Evidently, there was an 83-year-old woman who lived by herself on social security in a town outside San Francisco. She had very little money to spare but kept sending one dollar a year to the Republican National Convention. Then one day she got a fund-raising letter in the mail, which invited the recipient to come to the White House to meet President Reagan. She never noticed a little RSVP card that suggested a positive reply was needed along with a generous donation.
Nevertheless, she scraped up every cent she had and took a four-day-train ride to Washington DC. When she arrived at the outside gate to the White House, she gave her name, and the guard looked to see if she was on the list, and, of course, she wasn’t. She couldn’t go in and was heartbroken. Behind her in line though, was a Ford Company Executive who picked up on her story before she left. As she walked away with head down, he stopped her and told her to return at nine the next morning, for he would get her in. She did, and sure enough, the guard let her in. She was met by the Executive who gave her a nice tour of the White House before taking her to the door of the Oval Office. She thought that while standing there, she might get a glimpse of President Reagan, for many generals and advisors were coming and going. Yet in the middle of many crises events that day, Reagan got a glimpse of her and gestured for her to come in. As she entered, he called out from his desk, “Francis, I’m so sorry to have kept you waiting; those darn computers messed up again. Had I known you were standing there I would have come out to get you myself.” Reagan then talked with her for a few minutes about her family, hometown, and California.
And that was Ronald Reagan who will not only go down as one of our most effective Presidents but a very kind and humble man besides. A man who believed in God, followed the Scriptures, and regarded others, even a white-haired old woman, as more important than himself.
We desperately need more in our government like Reagan for 2019, men and women in every political office or of every political persuasion to do their best to abide by a Scriptural passage like Philippians 2:3-4. Reagan did!
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”