He was in his eighties when I came to know Christ at the age of eighteen. He sat in front of the pulpit and three rows back. Not really belonging to the church youth group, I decided to start sitting by the elderly, Mr. R.E. McCormick who once was a pharmacist in Denison, Texas. He was almost blind and somewhat deaf, but very much… a kindly man with a gently smile.
Within a couple of weeks, I noticed while singing hymns or reading scriptures, he would open the proper books and pretend to be using them, especially his Bible. When the offering plate was passed, he always put at least one dollar in the plate despite he had no income. After a month, I could no longer keep my mouth shut. Sitting by him prior to one of the services, I asked him about these activities.
“Mr. McCormick, I know that you can’t see the writing in the hymnals or in your Bible, but you open them (always to the wrong place) and go through the motions of reading or singing from them. Why do you do that?”
He smiled his gentle smile and ask me a question, “Ron, who sits in the row directly behind us?”
“Well sir, those children and preteens,” I responded.
Wearing that gentle smile, he replied, “They are the reason. They watch me. I must set an example. They must understand what is important. I can’t see. I can’t hardly hear, but I can set an example. I might be blind, but I see pretty well for an old man.”
“Mr. McCormick, I think you see better than I do.”
I learned much that day, about setting an example, about leadership, about worship, about giving. Even now, I miss his gentle, Christ-like smile. As I write these words, the tears run down my face. I miss our discussions on scripture and the many times we prayed together at his home. But, I will see him again.