We were sitting together that afternoon on a third-or-fourth-hand couch in my office behind the fellowship hall at the Marble Falls church. Jim Gardner had just announced he was leaving to begin preaching at the Woodward Park congregation in Fresno. I had just taken the preaching position at Legacy. And we both had just received copies of our new churches’ pictorial directories. We were flipping through the pages together, checking out the pictures of the good brothers and sisters to whom we would soon be ministering. Among the pages and rows of young families and widow ladies and old men and babies, Quincy’s picture jumped out at me.
Now look at Quincy. Look at him. That’s a face that has a story. There’s some pain there. Something happened. And the evidence is right there. This man deals with things most people never endure. He suffers.
My very first thought upon seeing Quincy’s picture — and I’ll never forget it — was to wonder in what ways I would be able to minister to this man. How am I going to serve him? How am I going to comfort and encourage him? How is God going to use me to help this guy?
As most readers of this space know, Quincy, of course, wound up ministering to me. He served me. He comforted me and encouraged me. He helped me more than I can possibly put into words.
Quincy’s faithful trust in God strengthened my own faith. His selfless, sacrificial attitude matured my own outlook on congregational life and the world. His prayers delivered me straight to God’s throne for healing and forgiveness, mercy and grace. His phone calls lifted me up and kept me going strong. Quincy’s love for me sustained me in many ways. When I needed a minister, when I needed a faithful friend, when I needed affirmation, Quincy was my guy.
Quincy and I would talk all the time about Legacy Morning Prayers. We lamented the lack of congregational participation. We prayed together that God would bring more people to our prayer time, that God would fill the prayer room with our brothers and sisters so we would all be changed to become more like Christ. Why won’t people come to pray? We couldn’t understand it.
And then at the end of May, it happened. Teenagers! High school seniors and college freshmen. Young people from our church and young people from the NRH community. Fifteen-year-old, 17-year-old, 20-year-old boys and girls. Kids with faithful Christian parents and kids who are spiritually on their own. They started showing up this summer. Four and five and sometimes six or seven at a time. Teenagers! Praying with Quincy. Talking with Quincy. Being formed and shaped by God through Quincy. Being changed by Quincy’s prayers. Being matured by God’s Word through Quincy’s reading.
Quincy and I had prayed and prayed that the prayer room would be full. But we never once thought God would bring us teenagers!
Every morning this summer Quincy and the teenagers prayed together for an hour. He ministered to them. He helped them. He encouraged them. He loved them. I would show up to work in the mornings and listen at the prayer room door as I put my Diet Dr Peppers for the day in the staff refrigerator. Quincy ministering to a room full of teenagers. More than I could ever possibly ask or imagine. God’s always doing weird and wonderful things like that.
For the past four weeks I’ve been thumbing through and praying over the pictures in my new Central directory. Well, it’s not really new; it’s four-years-old. I might be praying for and studying the names of people who died a long time ago or who don’t even belong to Central anymore. But my experience with Quincy has forever changed the ways I look at these pictures and names.
I still wonder about the ways God is going to use me to minister to this man in a wheelchair or to that single mom with four kids. I still pray that God will bless this widow lady and that guy with cancer. But, mostly, I wonder how these people are going to minister to me. How is God going to use this person to encourage me? How is our faithful Father going to use that lady to mature me in my faith? What’s this man in this picture going to do that’s going to change my life and make me a better disciple of Christ?
There are people in these 48 pages of pictures who are going to have an eternal impact on me. Some more than others. Yes, a few of them are going to make me crazy. But many more will become my greatest friends. I know I’m here to help them. But I’m just as certain our God is going to use these people to help me. And that gives me great confidence.