Recently, I had the honor to speak on behalf of Mission OKC at a gathering of Christian women in Edmond, Okla. Also speaking at the luncheon was a man, named Ross Alan Hill, founder and former president and CEO of the Bank2 in downtown Oklahoma City.
After sharing the heart of our ministry for my portion of time, it was Mr. Hill’s turn to give his testimony. This man, now in an enviable position of influence and esteem, shared about the brokenness he experienced throughout his life. He shared openly about his failures and how he found a new life after turning from the world and following Jesus.
I was inspired by his testimony, but the part of his story that sticks with me was about a pastor, who befriended him as a young man. Growing up, Mr. Hill was a failing student from a broken home living in poverty, but the pastor of his church mentored him. When it came time for Ross to graduate high school, he knew, since he had failed the entrance exams, there would be no future for him to go on to college. However, his pastor and mentor showed Ross favor, walked him into the administrator’s office of the local college, where the pastor vouched for Ross’s character. It was on his recommendation that Mr. Hill attended and later graduated college.
The genuine care and concern of that pastor toward this seemingly insignificant young man has resulted in a life changed for the better, benefitting our community and building the Kingdom. When introduced, the most notable achievement spoken of on behalf of Mr. Hill was that he has shared his personal testimony of how Jesus has changed his life with the more than 2,200 employees, customers and every first-time visitor at his office.
In Phil. 2:19-21, Paul is writing to the church. His heart is heavy with concern for their spiritual wellbeing. Paul expresses how badly he would love to personally visit them, but he was in chains for the preaching of the Gospel. In his stead, he was planning, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, to send Timothy. “For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ,” Paul stated
I don’t know what the field of up-and-coming ministers and notable Christian pop personalities looked like in Paul’s time, but to hear him talk, as if he is surveying the field in his own mind, wondering whom he might send to minister to the church in his stead, Paul wasn’t most concerned about their level of education, their attractive presentation or whether they have built a good “brand.”
The number one quality he was considering was, “Whom among these ministers can I trust to genuinely CARE for the people? Who among them will put the needs of the people first in the way Jesus calls us to? Who will serve? Who will listen and show humility? Whom can I trust not to harm or take advantage of the people?”
The breakdown in ministry comes when we overlook the seemingly insignificant people of whom Jesus has sent us to care, and instead, try to land the “Big Fish.” Everyone would love to have a church full of healed saints, who are the movers and shakers, the dealmakers of the town. The truth is, people in need of rescue are seldom in flattering positions. Every healed person was once lost and broken until Jesus made them whole. A worthy servant is willing to faithfully serve and care for the least, the last and the lonely.
As we invest in the lives of those around us, the Kingdom will grow, and we will share in their legacy of faith.
I am challenged as I wonder, would Paul be able to recommend me? Would he be able to say of me, as he said of Timothy, “She has proven worth as a servant of the Gospel. She genuinely seeks the welfare of others”?
May this be the standard we, as disciples, follow, so many more Ross Alan Hills will find the love of Jesus, live for Him and change their world.