The Greatest of These is Love
by Clarice Joseph Jackson
(This article is an excerpt from the Jan-Feb 2012 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)
These are the opening words of a poem written on the back of an envelope while waiting in an airport. The plane would take me to a memorial service honoring Ozzie Engelbart, an incredible man. Ozzie was a big bear of a man with the widest smile I have ever seen. His usual greeting was a bear hug that would almost squeeze the breath out of me! I had the blessing of knowing him for over thirty years. He was pastor of the Church of God I attended as a teenager, and the first Christian minister I knew personally. I grew up in an observant Jewish home and was the eldest child of a Rabbi, a Holocaust survivor.
The cultural transition was difficult to say the least. In those early days, I didn’t analyze what it was about Ozzie that attracted people; what quality he possessed that made everyone feel special when they were in his presence. I didn’t know much about spiritual gifts, but I recognized that the love of Messiah was reflected in this man’s life in a special way. And because of his care, his counsel and example, my faith in Messiah was encouraged and strengthened. In the early days of my walk as a believer in Yeshua, Ozzie Engelbart seemed to instinctively recognize the struggle I faced as the only Jewish member of the congregation. For the sake of my faith in the L-rd, I worshipped apart from my family and all that felt familiar and comfortable. There were times when I almost gave up. But this pastor with the heart of a true shepherd wouldn’t let me quit. More than once he left the other ninety-nine of his flock and went after this one little Jewish lamb who tended to wander away from the safety of the fold when discouraged…”
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