Recently we were in a lot of different churches, where we were introduced to a bunch of people and made a lot of new friends. Met a lot of smiling, friendly folks – but also a few who probably wouldn’t remove their frown if they were standing in front of Jesus, face to face.
But there was one in those crowds. One man who stands out in our memory. He was a member of a small community, in a town of about fifteen hundred, with several hundred more in the outlying rural areas. We were in that town for a few days, and everywhere we went, people knew that man’s name. They knew he was, what he did, and how he treated people. Whenever his name was brought into the conversation, faces would light up with recognition, admiration, and respect.
How did that happen? How did one man come to be known and generally liked by everyone we met? We can’t pretend to have the all-knowing answer to that. Maybe he secretly hands out twenty-dollar bills on the sly. Maybe he tells everyone what they want to hear – truth or not.
“Aw man, don’t worry about it, that extra one hundred and twenty-five pounds you’ve gained looks fantastic on you!”
That could be the reason, but I doubt it. Based on what we observed, we believe we know why this man is so beloved in his community. He just sincerely loves. Everyone he meets.
Pastor Frankie’s attitude toward everyone he knows – a great person or a person with a hopelessly bad attitude is simply this: “I just love that ol’ boy! Yeah, I know he has a few issues. But there is just so much to like about him. God sure made a good ‘un when He created him. I sure love him.”
How do we know this? Simple, we kept hearing it from his lips. No matter who he had been talking to. Happy people, angry folks, thieves, church-going or non-church-going folks, the alcoholic, or the drug-addicted. He never seemed to vary in his attitude toward them. It seems he’s just decided to love everyone who crossed his path.
Is this man a simpleton, who can’t perceive that some folks need to be condemned and lectured? Nope, he holds a Doctorate in Ministry from a well-respected seminary. Is he blind? Can he not smell the booze on someone’s breath? Not at all. He functions just as well as you and I in all aspects of living. He knows what is going on around him very well.
But he does dislike some things. Seeing what sin does in the life of people. He would much rather see people living for God. He knows that is where they will receive help with their problems. So, he just loves and offers help.
He reminds me of Another who walked around in His community. He also just loved.
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