Books like The Book of Ralph are seldom found on the shelves of libraries. If you do an online search at book sellers like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you find very little.
The reason for the scarcity is the rarity of the subject matter and the classification of the book—biography not fiction. There are too few people who are as genuinely gentle and gracious as Ralph Lilley, the main character of the book.
I have had the privilege of knowing Ralph for over 25 years. I have been his pastor, and he has willingly served his Lord as an elder, deacon, janitor, painter, teacher, greeter, volunteer, advocate for children, champion of the poor and needy, meals on wheels, and Chairman of Christian Service.
As I reflected on Ralph’s life yesterday, I spoke of seven lessons from The Book of Ralph, and I share them with you now:
#1—Remember your place in the line of life.
He that will be first shall be last, and he that is last shall be first.
#2—Pick up the burdens of others, so you won’t let them down.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
#3—Display your manly meekness.
Galatians 6:1: If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of meekness.
#4—Mind your manners.
Ephesians 4:2: Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love
#5—Let the Spirit guide your speech.
Colossians 4:6: Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
#6—Share the grace of God.
Ephesians 4:29: You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.
#7—Do more than just talk the talk: walk the walk.
James 1:26-27: If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Remembering Ralph’s work of faith, his labor of love, and patience of hope in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
I Thessalonians 1:3