2-3-2019 The Bonding of Believers


February 3, 2019


Maybe I’ve mentioned this before… if so just smile, be kind and humor a grateful son. My father was a Marine. It’s my understanding that He went overseas to Korea on the day the Japanese surrendered. I recall dad saying that he had the privilege of serving with many good men of all branches of the services during that time and it impacted him deeply. The way he told the story reminded me that there is a bond between men in foxholes, the belly of planes, and within the armor of tanks that lasts a lifetime.


Nothing proved this more than an excited call I received from dad one evening. I don’t recall exactly what year it was, but the Dallas Cowboys were in to play the Detroit Lions. Dad was at home the Saturday evening before the game when the telephone rang. As dad answered the phone the voice on the other end introduced himself as Tom Landry coach of the Dallas Cowboys and was this LG Hendershot who served as a Marine in Korea in WW2? What a surprise it was as he and dad had a brief but meaningful conversation that stuck with dad the remainder of his life.


It seems that Tom Landry shared with dad that he had a custom of calling a few men who served in WW2 in each town the Cowboys played. Not sure what prompted him to do so, but my best guess is that was the bond mentioned above. If I were to add a second guess it would be because in 1958 Landry accepted Christ as His savior and there was an appreciation for all Christ had done for him, he couldn’t ignore. This is Landry’s story as recorded by Ervin Shaw in November of 2005 …


“Running a professional football team can be a hectic job, but Coach Landry completed the task successfully because his priorities were in order. "Winning a football game isn't the end of all things," he once said. "It's got a priority, but it's not number one in my life. This creates for me a certain amount of calmness, even though I'm human enough to suffer when we lose."

Landry's greatest legacy - and his highest priority in life - was his Christian faith. "This is really the most important factor in my life, my faith in Jesus Christ." Landry continued, "When you accept Christ, He becomes first in your life. It's this priority that gives me peace."

Peace was something Coach Landry did not always enjoy, however. For a long time, he sought fulfillment in his own achievements: "I had a very restless feeling inside me that I wanted to accomplish something, but I really didn't know what it was." As a boy in the small town of Mission, Texas, Tom Landry was a regular attendee of Sunday school and church but thought that football seemed more important. So young Tom began to set goals - specific goals for his budding football career. In high school he told himself, "If I could just be part of a championship team, be an all-district halfback, then I would have everything I wanted." In his senior year Landry saw that dream fulfilled, but, in his own words, the thrill "wore off quickly."

Next it was college, but even his success at the prestigious University of Texas and trips to the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl were not enough to satisfy him. Even professional football didn't do it. Landry discovered that his restlessness had followed him even to the NFL. Although Landry didn't know it, he was experiencing the reality of Luke 12:15. "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (or achievements!). Landry never imagined that his problem was basically a spiritual one. After all, he had been going to church all his life. He already WAS a Christian, wasn't he?

An invitation to a Bible discussion group in 1958 changed his thinking and gave him an answer to his quest for peace. God began to open Coach Landry's eyes to the difference between a mere churchgoer - a "good" person - and a true Christian. As he related, "I committed my life to Christ and discovered what Jesus meant when He said, 'I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full'" (John 10:10). What was it that Coach Landry discovered? He found the source of his restlessness: separation from God. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Then he realized the discomforting truth that he was a sinner, and sin was causing his alienation from God. In fact, because we all have sinned, each one of us has experienced this same separation from God.

But Landry also discovered some good news! Romans 6:23 says it best: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." As the coach said, "All we have to do is recognize that Jesus did die on the cross for our sins, that we are sinners, and that it's only through Jesus Christ that we can have our sins forgiven." For Coach Tom Landry, placing his faith in Christ brought an end to his restless search for life's meaning.”

Luke 12:48 (NASB)
48 ... From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.


Both Coach Landry and my dad are now in heaven. I wonder if they’ve had time reacquaint and continue their conversation?? You see their eternal bond is their Savior.


Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry