Maturity is more than growing old and biblical knowledge is often mistaken for Christian Maturity.
Last Saturday I attended the Memorial Service of Skip Brooks. Skip died at age 47 from what began as throat cancer. I speak of Skip in the regard of maturity because he was one of the finest examples I know.
Skip was unique and that’s an understatement. I knew his father and mother and met his brother. They were all special individuals who extended their compassion for others well beyond their immediate circle of friends and family members. So, I suppose it was not surprising that Skip would be the kind of individual who did not draw boundaries when it came to be accepting other folks.
You see, Skip was a marvelous example of everything about Punk Rock, except he was no punk. Oh yes, he had the tattoos, piercings and strange hair, spiked or colored, played a mean guitar, and could be loud. But those things only served his calling. Skip was a pastor to hundreds of souls that most folks would just walk past.
The first time I met him was at the emergency room. A sweet soul we both knew had just collapsed with a cerebral hemorrhage. Skip’s compassion for the family, pain and concern for our friend were evident and it was obvious that regardless of his appearance, he was Christian through and through. It was an extremely difficult time as our friend was very special and many were in attendance. Skip was concerned that some of those in waiting room might be disturbed at his appearance and asked the Pastor that was present if it was alright for him to be there. I suppose, had anyone expressed even the slightest displeasure, Skip would have apologized, prayed and left. He was sensitive to others, which made him endearing. However, everyone seemed unusually wise that day, and the reply was, God looks on and cares about the heart of man, not his outward appearance, glad you are here Skip.
Skip went on to start a church focusing on the inter-city of San Antonio. He reached out to those that most folks didn’t care about and showed them they had value in God’s eyes. At his memorial service, literally hundreds filled the sanctuary of Trinity Baptist church.
Gazing over the crowd, one would find people of all ages, some with tattoos, some with piercings, some with colored hair, some in sport coats, some in leather jackets with spikes. It made no difference what anyone looked like, Skip loved them all. His service exemplified that fact and was one of the most moving services I have ever attended. I was particularly struck by one description of Skip. “He was the best version of Skip there could be.”
It was a tribute to his spiritual maturity. I’m certain he heard “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
As I observed many of those in the crowd, certainly I saw the loss of Skip on their faces. He was a best friend, Pastor and brother. God’s peace and the firm knowledge of Jesus and Heaven was evident on each one. But there was something else as well. Everyone was accepting of everyone else. Apparently, Skip passed that love along too!
I confess I had only occasional reason to interact with Skip, wish there had been more, lesson learned. My question is, are we Christians mature enough to demonstrate the love of Jesus to everyone?