I remember listening to some of the men who were, if only for a time, mentors to a young preacher named Steve. I recall that they could pull a Bible reference out of their heads and make it flow right into the conversation, complete with where it was found, chapter, verse, and everything. I wished I could do that so freely. Now I can. When did that happen?
Now I am well over 40 years old and I find myself saying some very wise things on a few occasions. Profound things in fact come right out of my mouth. I am amazed and wonder who is that person that is controlling my verbiage. I am amazed by that because, truth be known, I still feel like that nerdy kid with glasses that I was all the way through my teens.
I really was too. I never really fit anywhere. I was not the smartest kid in the class – ever. I was not the most athletic – in fact probably the worst. My fashion choices were never quite up to date and my car was never cool. My glasses were too big for my face and they were never pushed up all the way. I had greasy hair and zits no matter how often I washed. My values were high and I lived them – most of the time anyway and always in public. I always went to Sunday School and even Wednesday evening prayer meeting with the old people, and liked it. I was a nerdy kid then, and now I still feel the nerdyness and the kid too all too often.
I am a father of three. I am supposed to be a grown up. I am a pastor. I am supposed to have some wisdom. I have a college degree – two in fact. I am supposed to have knowledge. Not only these things, but I am over forty years old and I am supposed to act like and feel like it. Sometimes I do and then wonder who I am.
My point is not that as we get older and have more responsibilities, that we should never do or even feel young things. This we should do, often and with some amount of abandon. But, we should also recognize that every young, perhaps nerdy kid needs someone in whom they can see something valuable. If I am not that guy for at least one person younger in years and ministry than I, then it must be that I have missed the importance of those men to me in my more nerdy and youthful days.
I hope I never lose that nerdy kid. After all, he is me. But I owe it to Jerry and Ernie and Jack and Dick and Randy and James and Henry and a couple or eight dozen more men, that I be that man for some nerdy kid with glasses. Perhaps I can say to some young man that which Paul said to Timothy. At least I pray that I can.
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. (2 Timothy 1:13-14 NKJV)
See You SONday!
(c) SF Gallagher 2013