When Emma met John Macarthur

A few weeks ago I was at The Master’s Seminary for an appointment to make sure I get my classes for next fall. I had Emma with me (and she was looking mighty cute, I should add) for some daddy-daughter time, and we were waiting up in the reception area. Suddenly an entourage of men busted open the doors and walked in.

I recognized a few of the men– they were pastors and elders from Grace Community Church. In the midst of the hustle, one man stopped and began to talk to Emma. He patted her on the shoulder, said she was cute, and made a joke about allowing women into the seminary. It was Dr. MacArthur.

Emma shied away and pretended to be interested in something else.

I am going to treasure that moment for a few reasons. Here they are:

1. The busiest man in the group stopped to greet a tiny child.

Jesus loved children. When disciples were concerned that too many children were coming to Jesus and tried to stop them Jesus rebuked them and called for more children to come: “Let the little children come to me.” Of course Jesus was busy, and, from a practical standpoint, one might think his time spent speaking with children could have been better used elsewhere, healing the sick perhaps. Jesus didn’t think so. The best possible use of his time at that moment was to set a child on his knee, speak tenderly to him, and extol the virtues of childlike faith.

Let us never take ourselves too seriously that we are no longer able to play games with children. And let us never be so busy that we cannot stop and coo at a small child.

2. It will be fun to tell Emma that she met one of the profoundest influences in my life.

I hope and pray that Emma will grow to love the preached Word of God and devote her life to knowing and obeying it. As she grows in her faith (Lord willing), it will be fun to tell her the exciting stories about daddy’s church history heroes. Macarthur will go down in history as one of the foremost expositors the church has seen, and as soon as Emma is able to know who he is, I will tease her about the time she gave John Macarthur the cold shoulder.

3. It gives a more human picture of the man.

It’s so easy to think of John Macarthur as a sort of well-oiled machine, pumping out expositions Sunday after Sunday.
But when he stops and chuckles with your little girl, he becomes a bit more human.

My wife always tells me she’s much not impressed with a pastor until she sees how he treats his wife and children. She’s on to something. A preacher doesn’t prove his value by his homiletics but by his home life.  There’s a vast gulf between the pulpit but and the dinner table. The way a man treats his and others’ children reveals something very important about the man and his ministry. I appreciate Macarthur’s love for the little ones, even when a dozen other responsibilities are demanding his attention.

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