by Vance Havner from Pepper 'n' Salt
Among all the things that happen to us in our earthly pilgrimage, certain precious memories linger—recollections that remain by reason of the blessing they brought and the lesson they taught.
When I was a country pastor, I kept hearing about a former shepherd of my flock, one Josiah Elliott, who preached there back in the horse-and-buggy days. What a grip that man had on the hearts of the people! I became very anxious to know something of the source of his mighty influence. Other pastors of greater scholarly and social attainments had followed him, but I heard most about Josiah Elliott.
One day I went back on the creek where my farmer friend, John Brown, was plowing and asked him where lay the secret of the old preacher’s power. John reflected for a moment, as he was wont to do, and then remarked simply: “He just loved us.” I strolled back home along the pasture lane that afternoon while from the cypress swamp the wood thrush chimed his vespers at the end of a perfect day. In my heart there rang the old, old words we are so slow to learn: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1). Josiah Elliott lived in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Would God it were a dwelling place of us all!
uest blog from Vance Havner, “Pepper ‘n’ Salt, Pulpit Library (Baker Publishing Group) 1966.