The Repairman

December 16, 2008 | 17 comments


I wish you could meet my friend, Dave.

He’s the pastor at the Methodist church in the little Iowa town where I grew up — the church where I was baptized, confirmed, took my first communion. He’s the pastor who baptized our daughter, Lydia, when we didn’t belong to a church of our own.

He’s one of the most committed — and unconventional — Christians I know. And he doesn’t leave you guessing about where his hope lies. He doesn’t evangelize in a pushy, judgmental way — but in a gentle way that says, “I have a Friend that I’d like you to meet.”

Dave wears a huge cross around his neck — like a rap star– only Dave is short, bald and has a high-pitched voice. On the front of his shirt, he also wears a large plastic plaque, engraved with the words: “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”

I don’t know how he could afford it, but for years, Dave gave out those One-Year Bibles to anyone who would take one.

He’s the kind of pastor who gives sermons that you wish 1,000 people could hear, but there are only about 30 people in the pews on any given Sunday. You get the feeling he’s not doing it to draw crowds. You get the feeling that he’s really just having a conversation with God, right then and there, in the red-carpeted sanctuary of that little Methodist church.

I’ve heard Dave refer to Jesus as “The Repairman.” Jesus worked as a carpenter, died on the cross to fix the mess in this world and then works in the repair business even today, fixing broken lives.

So on Sunday morning, Dave stood at the front of his congregation, which includes my parents, and asked them to go to the Repairman on his behalf.

“The doctor is going to be taking my foot off tomorrow,” he told them.

Dave was born with a foot deformity, and after years of foot troubles, the doctors thought it best to just remove the foot entirely.

As Mom described it, “It was like he was telling us, ‘The doctor is going to give me a manicure,’ … or, ‘We’ll have a meeting tomorrow morning at 10:30 in the foyer.”

I mean, here’s a guy who’s having his foot removed, and there isn’t a hint of panic in his voice.

At the hospital yesterday, Dave wanted to wear a special pin on his surgical gown. It was similar to those buttons that parents wear to show support for their favorite soccer player or their star quarterback.

Dave’s button has a picture of Jesus on it. He had the button made at Walgreens, and he wanted the surgical crew to see who he was cheering for.

Just before surgery, Dave pinned it to his gown, but the nurses said he’d have to keep it pinned to his room pillow instead, hospital rules and all.

Dave was fine with that, he said, seeing how he carries Jesus with him everywhere he goes. (He never misses an opportunity.)

Dave came through surgery like a champ. Just after surgery, Dave showed Mom the button of his Star Player, pinned to his hospital-bed pillow. Then Dave, the patient, led the room in a prayer of thanksgiving.

Before Mom left, Dave reminded her: “Keep your eyes on Jesus.”

That’s the thing about guys like Dave. Even when they lose their step, they keep their eyes fixed on the Repairman.

by | December 16, 2008 | 17 comments

17 Comments

  1. Julie

    I just happened to stumble across your blog recently. Thank you so much for sharing this story. What an inspiration he is!

    Reply
  2. Darlene

    wow. an amazing man. Pointing to THE most amazing man ever. imagine that…

    Reply
  3. Anonysister

    Amazing to me how some people can look life so straight in the eye.

    Reply
  4. patty

    As I read this I thought of the verse “We are to God the aroma of Christ”…it sounds like Dave leaves the beautiful aroma of Christ wherever he goes!

    Reply
  5. Red Letter Believers

    JLD

    I wish i could be strong in the midst of trials a third of what this man went through.

    people say Jesus is a crutch? Dave…and frankly, all of us, need a crutch

    Reply
  6. Carol

    Jennifer,
    Wonderful story of an amazing man, who kept his eye on the “repair man”. We all need to remember to do that….it is out of our hands. Love, Carol

    Reply
  7. Joyce Mikan

    I have met your friend, Dave, when I was about 3 months old, so I’ve been privileged to have been bounced on our grandmother’s knee together, as well as have him as my pastor, counselor, cohort in ministry, teaching kids, writing songs and jokes–forever! You’ve captured his simple, sincere, solid faith–a true man after God’s own heart–that’s Dave. Let me just add that he’ll lead you to Jesus, as well as have you laughing in your bleakest, darkest hour–or his. Saturday night he asked me to look for a good pirate’s hat, so his grandchildren could go trick-or-treating next year with “Pegleg Pete.” This is just God’s way of making it more difficult for him to “put his foot in his mouth.” I love Dave almost as much as I love Jesus.

    Reply
  8. Jules

    The older I become and the more I love my Lord, the more I love the unquestionable faith of Dave. You’re right. He allows us to take a sneak peak into his conversations with his Friend on those now very rare Sundays I spend in my home church. He’s a grand man – all 5’6″ of him.

    Reply
  9. Joyce Mikan

    Thank you, Jennifer, for writing this story about my son, Dave.
    –Grace Schumann

    Reply
  10. Jesse and Sarah

    As always, a great entry.

    I would have liked to have met Dave. He sounds like a gentle man I once came across. I love those kind of people that don’t show panic, but peace and trust and yet are just simply friendly to whomever will accept their friendships.

    Reply
  11. Billy Coffey

    Repairman indeed, able to keep us together while we’re falling apart sometimes. Boy, I’d like to meet Dave…

    Reply
  12. lynnrush

    Amazing story. Thank you for sharing that!

    Reply
  13. Chris Godfredsen

    Wondering how I could have spent three years in Pocahontas County and not ventured 15 minutes to this little church? God bless you for sharing this story, as really only you can, and may Dave have the most ornately decorated room awaiting him one day in paradise as he continues to draw people to Jesus through his life and ministry!

    Reply
  14. Chris Godfredsen

    Wondering how I could have spent three years in Pocahontas County and not ventured 15 minutes to this little church? God bless you for sharing this story, as really only you can, and may Dave have the most ornately decorated room awaiting him one day in paradise as he continues to draw people to Jesus through his life and ministry!

    Reply
  15. Pam at beyondjustmom

    This reminds me of a young woman in our congregation with bone cancer who had to have her leg removed. In the memorial poinsetias, her family listed a tribute “to Beth’s left leg.” What a gift of humor in a tragic situation.
    And, Beth is now in seminary to become a Methodist pastor.
    Interesting connections!

    Reply
  16. Minister Mamie L. Pack

    Jennifer,

    This is an amazing story. It just brings me such joy when I learn of believers such as Dave who continue to walk the good walk of faith. Thank you for sharing.

    with blessings,

    Minister Mamie

    Reply
  17. Lori

    Amen!

    Reply

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