Dear Greg,

It happened to me again not long ago. Someone mistook me for you. I was at the funeral of a friend’s father and a man came up to me, shook my hand and began to thank me for what I’d done for him as a customer at your bank. He was singing “my” praises and it felt so good to hear him say such nice things about me that it was difficult to find a place to interrupt him. I wanted him to go on and on. I wanted to learn a little more about “myself,” except I’m sure it would have been quite embarrassing if he’d actually asked me a banking question. I finally had to stop him and explain that he’d mistaken me for you.

He was embarrassed, as I knew he would be, but I assured him he wasn’t the first person that had gotten us confused.

So, I want to thank you for being such a fine person and I hope that all of your customers are as happy as this man. I’d hate to try to convince an unhappy one that I am not you. He or she might think I was just trying to avoid hearing a complaint.

In case people mistake you for me, you can repay the favor and point them my way if they are saying nice things about me. If not, just do the pastoral thing and listen well. Take one for the team. Then you can tell me all about it later. That will make the stock in your bank go up in my eyes. I am kidding, of course.

While we might get mixed up for the other from time to time, I know that we both share the same goal of wanting to reflect the love of Christ.
While we both fall woefully short of that goal at times, we can celebrate that in Christ Jesus we both have a brother whose grace is extended to us and whose grace we try to extend to others.

While I don’t have a biological brother, you come close to looking like one. We are only a month apart in age and we were born only 60 miles apart. So maybe it’s those Alabama roots that we have in common that’s bonding us. Maybe it’s all that grey hair. Perhaps it’s our bond in Christ.

So whenever we do something kind and helpful for someone else, anyone, whether that person is someone people consider important or whether it is someone others might consider the least among us, that is when we most resemble Jesus.

So, Greg, you just keep helping people the way you do. I’ll try to do the same. I know we will not always get it right. But at least if someone mistakes you for me or me for you we can hope the chances will be good that it will be a pleasant experience. At least I’m counting on it, “brother.”