Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)
TITLE: The Most Important Thing
By Marita Vandertogt
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His hands speak louder than his words as they stab the air with a gentle emphasis. “If you come away the same,” he says, “then you haven’t really met with God.”
His lips curl in a smile as he speaks, that’s hard to define. Not a smile of joy, but of a man who’s been there. Who’s been changed by the encounter that he talks about.
His height gives him an air of superiority, his blonde hair a look of the world, with eyes that could, if they wanted to, pierce the tv cameras. But they don’t. He keeps them lowered, with an occasional glance into the pews in front of him.
The camera follows his face, his hands, and watches. This man is the pastor of a church in a nearby city, but he’s also a tv evangelist, and pastors people in their living rooms. The ones that can’t get out, that maybe don’t want to. His words, soft and almost confessional in their manner, draw his congregation in.
“We don’t really understand sin,” he says, “until we have that encounter with God. Once we see Him, we see ourselves differently, we understand sin differently. We begin to see,” he goes on to say, his voice raising just a bit, just enough, “how much we’ve missed the mark. And that, my friends, is the essence of sin.”
Time passes, though no one seems to notice, as this man continues to talk, with just the hint of a British accent.
“People have asked me,” he says, “Why I don’t speak out more about the evils of society, of human nature, of the church itself.” He stops and looks at the pew in front of him, then into the camera. “Well,” he starts to explain. “I don’t want to talk about what’s out there. I want us to focus on what’s inside. On what part we play.”
So why do I write about a man’s words, instead of the man himself? I’m not sure. Except that out of a man’s words, flow the life of who he is. As I watched him, in a blue suit, maybe a little too bright for television, with a shirt curling on one side of the collar, I saw something real. Something that tugged at my own spirit. Something I hadn’t felt in a long time. The Spirit nudging me to take another look at myself.
I don’t know how this man pastors his church. How he relates to the people in his congregation, and I suppose those are the most important elements of a person called to be a shepherd. But I do know that he has something to give his congregation far more valuable than a well worked program.
He has truth, from his own personal encounter with the Living God, and he isn’t afraid to share it. Maybe that’s the most important thing.
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