This past week, a preacher I’ve known since my middle-teenaged years passed away. He was a very wise man and knew the Bible backwards and forwards. He could quote chapter, verse, and scripture from heart as well as anyone who’s ever lived. He was a wise man, highly respected by many. People came from miles around to listen to his sermons.
He’s the only person I’ve ever seen who could write one thing on a chalkboard while talking about something else. While speaking, he would write down points he would bring up later. That skill fascinated me mostly because I have trouble of doing just one of those at a time.
I heard this man preach many times over my life. While his voice and his messages were powerful, he intimidated me during his sermons. He was a yeller, and I don’t do well with yellers. Doesn’t matter who’s yelling at me, it makes me wither and close up like plastic in a hot frying pan. Even though I’m an older lady, I’m like a child whose behavior can be corrected with a hard look and a firm word of reprimand. Yelling at me does much less good than talking to me in a normal tone.
I learn much better from quiet preachers. With them, I don’t have to make the effort to try to hold myself open; consequently, I hear the message on a deeper level. Just as some children need more than a hard look to correct them, different styles of preaching are important for edifying everyone. Some people need to be yelled at to make them hear and understand.
This preacher, outside the pulpit, was kind and generous and quiet. I learned more from him more in those moments. He influenced a broad sphere of people. His wisdom and counsel will be sorely missed. At the same time, I’m comforted that only his body has passed. His soul lives in the beyond, and his influence lives on in the people who heard him. Our souls are better because we knew him.