For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7

An entry in Who’s Who for my father might read—

Donald Bernard Jones (1921-1997): ordained minister, pastor, educator, photographer, umpire, broadcaster, civic leader, and, in retirement, missionary in the Pacific Islands.

There is nothing extraordinary about those activities, although the combination is intriguing and hints at some interesting stories.  Perhaps, then, it is not what my father did but why that matters.  

Daddy loved God and people, and his life’s purpose was bringing them together.  As a pastor, he was called to rebuild broken congregations.  He served small churches, made smaller by dissension, helping them heal, immersing them in Scripture until they could see beyond themselves and become mission-centered people.

Daddy’s heart was missions and, while his pastorates were his primary mission fields, extension courses, photography, baseball, radio, and civic groups gave him other opportunities to minister.  He once remarked, “It’s amazing how many people you can witness to when you are actively participating in what they love.”  

Sometimes that witness was unconventional.  A fellow photographer told Daddy their friendship would end with the first mention of God or church.  He maintained that friendship, trusting the Holy Spirit to use him—without words.  But Daddy loved words, especially God’s word.  He read and studied faithfully all his life.  His theological library was extensive and well-worn.  In his last decade, he read the Bible through, in a different translation, each year.

Daddy encouraged and challenged everyone he knew to develop the talents God gave them, and to use those talents in His service, whatever their callings.  Like many others, I am grateful every day for the steadfast, saintly way he led me to love and honor God.

Carol Gutman 

About the Contributor

Carol is a member of First Presbyterian where she serves on the Diaconate and the Mobile Meals Flower Committee.