I knew a man in Christ, a father, a friend, a counselor, mentor and inspiration. I knew a man in Christ, he taught me how to think, how to live, how to die. He taught me the Bible, removing all gray areas, as preciseness was his forte, accuracy his norm. He taught in a dogmatic way, leaving no room for doubt, exposing the foolishness of any inferior systems. Yes, I knew this man in Christ.
When my pastor spoke, there was an anointing, clear, distinct, heavenly, penetrating. Sometimes came tears, sometimes a display of authority. Often there was an identification with the exact issue of my current experience.
There was a sense that the ministry was tuned into me, to me personally, adjusting my thinking, feeling, and the conscience. I was a part of it, my listening perpetuated it, my heart embraced it, my soul was invigorated in it.
Many times, I wept. I sensed something very deep happening. A healing, deliverance, a cleansing wash evoked from below and the infection was made to go away. At other times, I wanted to run, but stayed and waited and poured out my sins in confession to God. At other times I gathered valuable information related to time and circumstance. I was being rounded out.
This man I knew in Christ did not pamper my flesh, nor cuttle my pain. Oh, I knew he cared, I knew he would help me, but he taught me to look away, as the the desert children turned to the brazen serpent. We didn’t visit the quagmire, we didn’t fellowship around the yoke of bondage. We related only, not problem–ward, but answer–ward —not issue–bent, but solution-oriented; not sadistic, but realistic.
I learned from him, the place of anger, righteously displayed by Jesus in the Temple. As zeal for the father’s house, hatred for evil, a bold proclamation against the Pharisees, I learned. They laid heavy burdens on men without lifting a finger to help; this I digested and much more. Christ was being formed in me!
I watched him love people with the utmost care and sensitivity. I watched him, as he knew everybody’s name, and it amazed me. I watched him lead an outreach, introducing joy, relaxation, and pure fun to a serious event. I watched him make special time for the least, sensing the most needy amongst us. He led us by example, never by rebuke.
His confidence was infectious, his smile, contagious, his transparency invigorating, his wisdom drew us. His words had weight from years of experience, his disposition tempered in suffering. He discerned us, our gifts, our calling, our needs. His father heart followed him everywhere, we wanted to be around him. He was saving our lives.
He showed us our value, to be a child of God surpassing all other vocations and callings. He drilled into us a vision for lost men, empathizing with them, but also emphasizing their accountability. He never drew back from making us aware of evil movements and their leaders, he defended the truth. He exposed heresy,
He taught us, yes most importantly, he imparted to us grace! Not just a passing fancy or an occasional message, but an indoctrination, a repetition, a diligence of fervency. We came to know quickly that the man was about grace. Oh how he could articulate it in the Scriptures, with Greek and Hebrew, with tense and number.
The finished work became a finished work in my heart. Mercy came to rejoice against judgment. Condemnation became a “no more” and if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our hearts. When we believe not, yet He abides faithful, for he cannot deny himself. Thank you Jesus these things reside on the tip of our tongues.
So in closing, we could say so much more! When our son went home to be with Jesus, pastor called. We knew he would have something awesome to say. He said “your son was like a David.” We wept. We knew that God had used this man to prepare us for this day. I will be forever grateful, pastor, for your life and love. Amen