D. A. Carson is going to be in town this weekend. He is a brilliant man who has written a bunch of very helpful academic things, but my favorite Don Carson book is a book about his father, who was a missionary pastor. In that book he tells an interesting story about some wise advice his mother gave him. Charlotte Mason would have called this book a living book. I mined out a little jewel of advice for you. After you make your way through Carson’s first Pauline-length sentence you will reach his mother’s pithy advice for those inevitable times when you feel unloved. It’s Mother’s Day week, so I thought it would be a good time to pass this along to you:
When I was in my mid-teens and going through a phase when I wanted to pull away from meetings both local and regional because (I pouted) those who attended didn’t have my interests, and they all care about themselves, and much more of the same, my mother, sitting quietly at her treadle sewing machine (for years she made most of our clothes), quietly quoted two or three proverbs, and then added, “He who would have friends must show himself friendly. At the next meeting, before you go into a sulk, look around for the loneliest person in the room, and go and find out everything you can about that person. Then find the next loneliest person, and do it again.” Inevitably I resented the advice, but I took her up on it and to my amazement was soon regarded as one of the region’s youth leaders.
-D. A. Carson, from Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor
C. J. Mahaney has some good things to say about the book, too.
Reading this brought back a memory from my Mother, whom I think about a lot right now because of her failing health. In my youth, she once said to me, “Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely.” I tucked that away into my heart, along with her lessons on using that “alone” time productively. Thanks for the reminder!
Mrs. Tim Hall
How wise! Also, how unselfish. I will keep this one in my heart. God bless you.
Irene Graef taught me much about this one…….reaching out to the lonely, that is! I can recall praying with her one Wed. night and before we began, she looked all around the auditiorium. When I asked her if she was looking for someone specific, she replied “No, I just want to make sure everyone has someone to pray with and no one is left out.” That really taught me much! Here was a much loved, popular lady, looking to reach out to anyone who might be left out or lonely. I saw Irene do this faithfully every week! I try to do the same, especially when I see people sitting in church alone. I am so thankful for the example of godly leaders!
Pastor Martin Ross
I read this book after you recommended it on this site. There is an outstanding portion about how to handle unjust treatment from others (even Christians). Tom Carson handled it so well that Don didn’t learn of it until it was recounted by his professor in a college class. The professor concluded his teaching of the matter by stating, “The first thing I want to see when I get to heaven is Tom Carson’s crown.” Tom purposed that he would not criticize or complain when mistreated but would pray for the Christian leader that was mistreating him!