I was in a very active youth group at church when I was in high school. After four of us graduated high school, our church youth group decided to go on a retreat to Montreat, NC. We got to hear a lot of wonderful speakers, and we were treated to a George Beverly Shea concert. He had come to the area to visit Billy Graham at his home on top of a nearby ridgeline. We had a great time.
Our parents told us about an old preacher who had a summer home in Montreat. A couple of us went to visit him. He had preached at our church many, many years before. We didn’t remember him, but our parents had insisted. He was retired and in his nineties.
For being an old man, he was very spry. He told us about living in Atlanta, his home during the winter. When he turned ninety, he had to get his driver’s license renewed. He waited his turn at the DMV. Finally, the clerk had him fill out the forms and told him to sign for his one-year driver’s license. He blinked a few times. The DMV clerk explained that a new Georgia law required the elderly to come to the DMV to get their license each year to check whether they could physically and mentally drive safely on the road.
He blinked a few more times and then politely told the DMV clerk that he had better things to do with his time than to waste half of a day each year waiting in their waiting room. It cost him much too much in time, money, and patience. He demanded a five-year driver’s license like everyone else.
He must have been in his full preacher voice. The DMV clerk cleared her throat and said, “Yes, sir. That can be arranged. I see that you have no signs of any diminished faculties.”
He went on to tell another story, this one about the previous winter. He had taken a city bus and was waiting in the central terminal to catch the bus to where he wanted to go. He didn’t want to walk very far when the bus arrived, so he sat next to the glass door. That way he could see the bus pull into the terminal, and he wouldn’t have to hear the announcement over the intercom.
A rough looking young man walked up to him and stood beside him. The young man showed the old preacher a weapon and demanded his wallet. The preacher calmly told the young man that he had to stand up in order to get his wallet out of his back pocket. It was hard to get to with his coat on. The old preacher stood and pretended to stumble a little. But instead of reaching for his wallet, he took a quick step through the glass door. When the young man reacted instinctively to follow, the old preacher slammed the glass door in his face.
The glass was not safety glass. The door shattered, cutting the young man. The young man dropped his weapon. Of course, this caused a lot of people to take notice. While someone called the police to have the young man arrested, the old preacher went into ‘preacher-mode’, calmly sharing the Gospel with the young man while administering first aid.
While he produced his driver’s license to prove the first story, I had no doubt the second story was true, also.
Don’t mess with an old preacher.