My high school class is having its 40-year reunion this summer. I grew up in the small town of Chillicothe, Mo. If you visit downtown Chillicothe, you will see huge murals proclaiming it as “The Home of Sliced Bread.” It was the first town to have a commercial bread slicer and sell precut bread. I am so proud of my heritage that I have eaten more than my share of sliced bread throughout my life.

Chillicothe is one of those small towns with a rural flavor where everyone knows everyone else’s name . . . and business. Still, it was a great place to grow up during the 1960s. We had the drive-in theater outside of town and the center drag strip down the middle. At one end of the strip was the “Kuckoo,” a hamburger joint. At the other end of the town was the “Dog ‘n Suds.” We spent many weekends of our high school years cruising up and down the streets of Chillicothe, enjoying life.

With all this in my background, I was excited to receive the notice about the reunion. But I soon realized my schedule won’t allow me to attend. The student missionaries Awe Star has sent around the world this summer are scheduled to return to the States the same weekend as our reunion. I need to be there in Dallas to debrief them.

Naturally, the reunion committee wants me to submit the reason I cannot attend. I have thought long and hard about what to say. I could simply write, “Due to my job, I am unable to attend.” Who wants to read that? Instead, I’ve decided to send them my Top 10 List of Reasons I Am Not Attending the Chillicothe High School 40-Year Reunion:

#10. Only old people showed up for our 35th reunion. I hear those attending this time are even . . . older.

#9. At our 10-year reunion I remembered all my classmates’ names. At our 25th reunion I remembered half of their names. This time around, I won’t know anyone. Why come?

#8. I am still upset about the C- I made in chemistry.

#7. They expect us to dance to the music of The Monkees. I couldn’t dance then; I can’t dance now. Enough said.

#6. I don’t want to hear, “Who’s the fat guy in the corner?”

#5. I still haven’t paid that library fine from 1969. They probably won’t let me in anyway.

#4. At this stage of our lives, my old girlfriend is simply . . . old.

#3. I don’t have anything to wear. It’s been years since I bought a new pair of overalls.

#2 . I hate the question, “Do you remember when we . . .?” No, I don’t remember “when we.” In fact, I don’t even remember you.

#1. My English teacher might be there. I don’t want to get this Baptist Messenger article back with red marks all over it.

When it comes right down to it, reunions are about relationships. I want to celebrate the relationships God has given me. Some of my lifelong friendships come from relationships made during high school. One of these is with a man named Mike Sensenich, whose father owned the local jewelry store. When Mike was in high school, the Bulova Watch Co. selected him to spend a year in Switzerland studying watchmaking. Today, he has taken over for his father and continues to grow the business. During our school years, I was always welcome in Mike’s home. His parents took me along on many trips and considered me a member of their family. I will always be grateful for their kindness, and I’m grateful for Mike’s friendship through the years. I had a relationship with the son, so the father welcomed me, too.

Isn’t that what Jesus does for us? Whoever has a relationship with the Son is welcomed by the Father to His home. Religion is important only because God can use it to draw people to Himself. The Father is not interested in your religion; He is interested in what kind of relationship you have with His Son. Do you have a relationship with Jesus? If not, today would be a great day to repent and accept His death on the cross as the payment for your sins. It’s the only way to have a relationship—a real, life-giving, eternity-changing relationship—with the Father.

One of these days, Jesus will matter to everyone. The Bible says every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:14). And that’s one reunion (Top 10 List or not) you don’t want to miss.