vocation puts mostly outside the sphere of the other. But most of us - I'd dare say all of us if we
are open to such things - will know people along the way whose manner can change us for the better.
Richard Carlson was one of those people for me. He died last month.
Richard was a long-time professor at North Park Seminary in Chicago where I finished up my Masters
in Divinity. I can't claim an extraordinary bond with Richard: he simply treated me like he did all of
his students. In doing so, he modeled some of what I would hope to live out as a pastor including:
* recognizing that everyone matters because they matter to God;
* respecting the questions and opinions of others
* a love for learning and recognizing that each conversation was an opportunity to do so
* availability - his door was as open as his heart
* a special passion for the hurting, marginalized and those who didn't easily fit
* decidedly unimpressed with ministry success, but moved by modest integrity
* joy in enjoying the mundane and earthly things
Be generous in giving your life away and grateful for those who bless yours. God's beauty beats in more hearts, in more places, and in more moments than we might expect.
On Richard's office door was a sign: "Jesus knows me. This I love."
I love that too.