When I was in high school I had a youth pastor who was legendary in our corner of the world in Southern California. He was truly one of kind, a man who took his commitment to Christ very seriously. He stood about 6’4″ tall, had a crew cut and had the look and determination of a marine drill sergeant. He could make you feel guilty with just a glance. “What did you get out of the Word today?” he’d ask me, or “What has God been teaching you lately?”
In his summer program we had to memorize not just a few verses, but chapters from the Bible. During my time with him I memorized, if memory serves, chapters from I Peter, Ephesians and one other book I can’t remember (ironic, right?). At the end of each day we had to quote the three verses we learned in order to eat. He would not eat until all of us had quoted our verses. At the end of each week we had to quote all the verses we had learned up until that time. At the end of the program we had to recite all the chapters and we could not go home until we did and he also would not go home until we did.We did Bible studies, had to run in the mornings, we spoke on street corners, we knocked on doors, we helped the elderly, went on a “mission” for a week to Mexico, Utah and various other places (we were Baptists) and also had sessions where the youth leadership would talk to us about our strengths and short-comings. We called these “rip” sessions.
If you wanted to date his daughters, and many of us did, you had to meet with him first, and many of us did, to answer several questions about your spiritual journey, commitment and what it meant to be a “spiritual leader.” He wanted his daughters dating Godly men.
The stories about this man never stop. Until this day if a couple of us or more from that youth group from the 70s get together, we all have our own stories about this very unique individual.
When I went off to Liberty Baptist College in 1976 I often told my new friends about my youth pastor. Not one of them, that I can remember, had a similar experience. My college friend from Ohio visited me for a week in the summer and he wanted to meet this man. At church, after the morning service, I introduced them. We all had a good talk. When it was time to go my friend said to my youth pastor:
“Take it easy.”
It’s a common phrase, right? At least it was back then.
“Have a good day.”
“Yeah, you too, take it easy.”
My youth pastor responded without the least bit of hesitation:
“Take it easy? I’m not going to take it easy. I’m going to hit hard! I’m going to press on.”
It’s good advice for us at this moment. The mid-terms are looking good, assuming we can out vote the cheaters. If we do, and many people I respect think we will, it will be no time to relax. It will be time to continue to hit it hard. We cannot rely on elected officials, even good ones, to right this ship. We’re all needed.
If it doesn’t go our way? We still press on. We never give up and we never comply.
Too much is at stake. Take it easy?