On this All Saints’ Eve, I want to say a word about one of the saints in my life. His name is Jack Enloe. In February 1974, in my senior year in high school, I got serious about Jesus. I had been in church all my life, but Jesus was more an add-on to my life than the very core of it. Not long after I made that commitment to Jesus, I met Jack Enloe. He was the Minister of Music and Youth at First Baptist Church, Branson, Missouri—my girlfriend’s church.
I attended that church now and then so I could sit with my girlfriend (who later became my wife). Okay, I’ll admit it, my attendance was more about glands than God, but God can even use glands to get us where he wants us. He wanted me there. He wanted me under the mentorship of Jack Enloe. I am the better for it. Jack was the first person I told about my call to ministry. Jack taught me how to share Jesus with others. Jack taught me how to minister to youth. He modeled the Christian life for me. He taught me how to do basic car maintenance on the junker I was driving at the time. Mostly, Jack just made time for me.
Jack and his wife Carol spent last weekend at our house. We hadn’t seen them in 40 years. Dayna and I were thrilled to host them. And we were thrilled to have them as guests in the church. I wanted him to see how God had used his investment in me to impact the kingdom because his fingerprints are on every life I touch, every ministry accomplishment God brings to bear through my life.
I tried to tell him one more time how deeply I appreciate his investment in me so many years ago. He just sort of dropped his head, not sure what to make of my comments. And that’s when it hit me. I said, “Jack, you don’t get it. I understand that. I’ve been at this ministry gig long enough to have been for some others what you’ve been for me. And when they tell me how much I have blessed them, I don’t get it either. It never seems like I did much of anything. But it sure seemed like much to them. And Jack your investment in me means more to me than I can say. Thank you for being God’s person in my life when I needed you.”
I still don’t think he gets it. But I do, and I will never forget it either. So on this All Saints’ Eve, 2017, here’s to St. Jack. I’m a better Christian and a better pastor because God put Jack in my life. And, because Jack took time to invest in me, the kingdom of God is wider and broader too. Thanks, Jack. The impact of your ministry is so much larger than you thought it was. Your ministry was not in vain.
Who invested in you that you’d honor on this holy day?