All good things . . .


In 1998, I sat in Paige Patterson’s office weeping. He came around from behind his desk and sat in the chair beside me. He pulled out a note pad, and a pen from his pocket.

And he began to write. Reading upside down through watery eyes I could tell the first words he was writing:

“Concordance Study”

Then he wrote down six enumerated words and handed the notecard-size cardstock to me.  The words were simple: quiet; peace; silent or silence; still; tongue; and mouth.

He told me to take the next few days and with an open Bible and concordance and go through the entire bible looking for every use of those words. And then he told me to pray that God would cultivate in me the virtues of a quiet soul, a peaceful approach to other people, and the ability to be still and trust God before ever opening my mouth (or using my pen).

For the past several months, that notecard has been on my desk. I’ve kept it in my briefcase. I’ve used it as a bookmark in my Bible. I’ve taken it with me to Florida, and Scotland, and London, and Texas, and North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

This morning — with that notecard on my nightstand — I read the sixth chapter of Galatians:

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load.

The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. 

Be not deceived. God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith . . . ”

Many years ago Leighton Paige Patterson tried to teach me in the Word, and I confess I was a stubborn student. Nevertheless, he patiently sought to instruct me how to respond when my own actions had brought me embarrassment and shame. At a very precise moment in 2000, I realized that I did not want to follow Paige but rather forge my own path.

But twenty years later, I’m still trying to learn some of the things he taught me.

So this post is for him.

  1. Quiet
  2. Peace
  3. Silent or Silence
  4. Still
  5. Tongue
  6. Mouth

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