pastor: n. a Christian minister; a shepherd
(#2 in a 22-part series)
To understand what’s going on with this series, read the intro to the first installment in this series. I posted that here yesterday (Oct. 2).
J.T. Marlin.* We had nothing in common. He was a very formal old-school preacher and I was a long-haired, awkward teen who wrestled with just trying to grasp what he was saying. Not for lack of education, eloquence, or effort on his part, you understand; if anything, he was highly polished and professional. It was simply that we were so very different and how can you “hear” anyone so different from yourself? But, I applied myself to the task, truly – though mainly just out of curiosity and respect, I must confess – and J.T. quickly picked up on that; he noticed that I was “listening,” not merely “hearing.”
And though he struggled for an exceedingly long time to simply learn and remember my name (something I found very humorous at the time, but I can oh, so relate to now!) I could tell that he knew I was trying. And so, somewhere in the course of virtually every sermon, he’d make what I could tell was deliberate just-for-me eye contact, multiple times. No small thing in a church of well over 400 in average attendance! Way more communication went on between us with eye contact than anything he ever verbalized to me. In fact, I don’t recall us ever even sharing so much as a single extended conversation! But, what he communicated with his eyes reinforced what Hubert Plumlee had conveyed to me in other ways. “We may be very different, but you matter to me (whoever your name is – LOL!) and what I’m saying matters to you.”
And so with his eyes, J.T. opened my eyes to God a bit more. Or as the old adage puts it well, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” J.T. cared, and I knew it.
Thank you for shepherding that then lost sheep with just your look, brother.
[* J.T. preached with what was then known as the Westside Church in Duncan, OK, across town from Eastside where Hubert Plumlee preached. Their ministries partially overlapped each other in time.]