19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don’t you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don’t belong to yourselves? 20 You have been bought and paid for, so honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Common English Bible).
In my last post, I told you about my friend Tom (this is not his real name. Because I do not have permission to use his name, I am using an alias). The first Sunday I met Tom was my first Sunday as the pastor of his Church. He walked up to me, and out of the blue said, “You are U.G.L.Y.”
While I wouldn’t have argued with Tom’s assessment, I was taken aback by his words. Regardless of the feelings, one may have, those are not words we generally hear someone say at church. I had never experienced such a thing.
When I looked at him and heard him speak, it was quickly evident that Tom was a man with special needs. I likely would have let it go anyway, right before worship is not the time to get into a debate with someone, regardless of the topic. I was not going to get into that with someone who had special needs.
I don’t remember what I said to him, probably something like, “OK.” Then I turned and headed to the chancel. Tom grabbed my arm and said, “Wait!”
I wasn’t thrilled about stopping. I had a couple of last-minute things to do before worship began.
I did stop. Tom put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Unconditionally, God Loves You.”
Tom loves acronyms. Every Sunday, if Tom was there, I heard at least one or two acronyms from him. Many of them he wrote. I would know when he was working on one. He would come up to everyone and say, “I need a word that starts with “H.” I don’t ever remember him giving me a subject to meet his “H” need.
“You are U.G.L.Y, Unconditionally God Loves You.” After Tom said those words to me, he finished but saying, “And you know what? I’m U.G.L.Y. too, and I want everybody to know I’m U.G.L.Y. They need to be U.G.L.Y. too.” With that, he let me go on to the chancel and begin worship.
Time has passed by quickly since that Sunday morning. I doubt I will ever forget Tom and his love for acronyms. It has been a while since I last saw Tom. I miss him.
During the time I was Tom’s pastor, Tom reminded me again and again about the strong relationship he has with God. He understood better than many of us that the outward doesn’t matter to God. What matters is that you love God, and that love is what is in your heart.
And Tom was absolutely right. He is U.G.L.Y. I am U.G.L.Y. Are you?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With a heart of joy (When you know Tom, he is going to make sure you feel joy),
Copyright 2019, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved
P.S. My next post will be another of Tom’s acronyms, “You are B.A.D.”