His name was Pastor Harold Green.
He was the associate pastor of the North Phoenix Baptist Church back in the 80s and 90s (I was a member there from 1978 to 1989).
was the kind of guy who always had a positive word for you, always directed you to look to Jesus.
had the fastest sense of humor west of the Mississippi.
I still chuckle at some of the stories he
told, and cringe at the few times I tried to get one past him (it just wasn't possible).
had a real pastor's heart.
The church was very, very large, and when you came in looking for guidance or help, it was normally Harold Green
who you ended up dealing with.
I would like to share only two Harold Green stories briefly here.
The first showed his
We were attending either a wedding or a funeral at the church.
I even remember where we were sitting in the very large main auditorium, and I happened to be sitting next to Harold Green
(which makes me think this was a wedding, since, in your late teens/early twenties you attend a lot more of those than you do funerals, and the slow and noticeable transition between the predominance of the one over the other is, I think, part of God's way of reminding you that your a mortal and you should be considering eternity).
In any case, they started that well known song, "Morning Has Broken.
leaned over to me and in his
own inimitable style said, "Please, whatever you do, make sure they do NOT sing this song at my funeral.
Well, I just attended the funeral, and his
wishes were carefully observed.
But the far more important story relates to something he
said to me that I have carried with me my entire life. (I am thankful that I and my father had lunch with Harold
about two years ago or so, and I had the opportunity to tell him about this incident, and how much it had impacted me).
The staff at NPBC was very large, and as is the case when you put redeemed sinners together in close quarters, sometimes friction developed.
Well, I saw Harold
mistreated, clearly, by one of the other staff members out in the main area of the offices (I had a small office directly across from Harold's).
I followed Harold
office and asked him, "Harold
, how do you put up with that?
I have never forgotten those words, to be sure, and am thankful for the wisdom I learned from Harold Green
I am sure Harold Green
would have been pleased that some of us (myself included) had to stand along the walls of the chapel building (which is larger than most church buildings, seating over 500) for his
And yet, there was much laughter, much joy, for you just could not think back upon your interactions with Harold