Pastor Tim Throckmorton

Pastor Tim Throckmorton

When we first met him, I knew there was something different about this kind man. His name was Sutor Hoople. He and his brother Harry owned a small apple orchard close to the little southern Ohio town of Otway.

My first memory of Sutor was when as a wee lad I rode with my Grandpa Cecil to their orchard on Mount Hope Road. This little man, who embodied the term humble, came out and talked to us as we looked over the beautiful red and yellow apples filling the baskets in the sales area. It was an old farm with old equipment, but his smile and demeanor were the sweetest I ever remembered meeting in all my 10 years of life. There was something different about him that I still recount today.

It was a few years later that I was to get better acquainted with this man. I was dating a young lady who attended the same church as he in Otway. Through a series of events, I was given the opportunity to attend church camp for the first time in my life, and it was at this particular church camp that I became a Christian. This was a very big issue for I was not raised in a Christian home and the church world was very foreign to me. But this man would always demonstrate a loving and caring Christian attitude and lifestyle.

I was also to learn, that this Godly man was responsible for praying many of the local taverns closed in the late 1960s. He would actually go into the bar and ask permission to pray, standing right at the bar! If he was refused permission, he would then offer to pay a dollar to be allowed to pray in the building.

I was told that he would bow his head, pray for the Lord to change the lives of the people who were in the bar and then he would quietly and respectfully leave. They all closed by the way! I share these stories, of which there are many more, to illustrate a specific point. Here was an ordinary man whom God used in extraordinary ways to touch the lives of thousands of people in the southern Ohio area, and beyond. He resembled Jesus!

When speaking to a multitude of people gathered around him on a hillside, Jesus began to give detailed instruction on how we are to affect the world in which we live.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light candles and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.”

Salt and light Jesus says. That’s what we are to be. Salt preserves, which in essence means that it stops the process of rotting. Salt also gives flavor, and I still believe that Christ followers should be the most enjoyable people to be around. Jesus also said that we are to be light. Light among many other things dispels darkness. Wherever light is, darkness can no longer take control.

One last story of this precious little man. It happened at a Vacation Bible School in a little Ohio village called Rarden at the Church of the Nazarene. All week long, the children had learned about Jesus and what he did during his earthly ministry. On the last night of VBS, Sutor was to speak to the children.

His message was simple and very easy for them to understand. He shared about Gods love in such a way that each of the children listened intently to each word he said. When it was over and he had left, one of the children came up to the VBS director and asked, “Was that Jesus?”

What a powerful accusation to make of a Christian. And believe you me, he sure reminded people of Jesus. I wonder what would happen in the world today if more Christ followers simply reminded people of Jesus?

On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is a portrait with the following inscription, “James Butler Bonham — no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom.”

No literal portrait of Jesus exists either, however, his likeness can still be seen in the lives of those who are related to him!

Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council, who writes a weekly column published in The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.

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