Wisdom Believes in People
By Leigh Kinnard
One of the qualities I admire the most about Jesus is his ability to see each person individually and to encourage each person to be the best they can be. Jesus sees our strengths and weakness, and he has vision for what we can become as we follow in his steps. Jesus brings out the best in people.
Vision is a powerful motivator. I appreciate the people in my life who have believed in me and who have had vision for the person I could be in Jesus. One person in my life who had vision for me was Wyndham Shaw.
I grew up on a farm in Henderson, North Carolina. My grandmother taught me about God through nature. I knew God loved me, but I didn’t know how to respond to the kind of love God showed me.
During my high school years (the early ’70s), I became friends with Mitch Mitchell and his family through the church we attended in Henderson. Mitch went to college at NCSU. He would come back during the summer and share what he was learning in the campus ministry there, which was led by Wyndham.
I was searching to find God’s truth and his will for my life. I jumped at the opportunity to visit the campus devotionals which were held each Friday night in Raleigh. I’ll never forget the first time I went. I was blown away by the fellowship, the singing, and Wyndham’s message calling us to be disciples.
After my first visit to the devotional, I talked with Wyndham. I was so touched by his genuine concern for what was going on in my heart. He encouraged me to keep attending the devotionals, even though I was still in high school. I sensed that he looked deep into my soul and saw my longing for God. Wyndham’s compassion gave me hope that I could be close to God and find his will for my life.
I kept going to the devotionals until I went away to college in West Tennessee. I took Wyndham’s encouragement with me on my journey. Each time I talked with Wyndham, he had the ability to make me feel like I was the only person in the room. He had genuine concern for what was going on in my life. I now know that he was this way with EVERYONE! I would always walk away from those talks with Wyndham feeling loved, encouraged, and believed in.
I appreciate how Wyndham values each individual person. That’s what Jesus did. I feel convicted by that. I want to be like that. In John 13:34-35, Jesus gave his disciples a new command. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” From the first time I met Wyndham I knew he was a follower of Jesus because of his love. Our interactions were brief talks during fellowship, but I always walked away feeling like I had been in the presence of Jesus.
I have never been with Wyndham and Jeanie in a ministry. I’ve never been with them for a long period of time. My history with them is one of brief interactions. They probably don’t realize how those brief conversations changed my life and made me a better person. I realize it, and I appreciate their love and encouragement.
I have tried to thank Wyndham over the years as our paths crossed at various seminars, church services, and retreats. My husband Steve and I have had opportunities to be around Wyndham and Jeanie during these times.
We have watched them teach, serve, counsel, and lead. Their humility is inspiring, their faith through the toughest times is an upward call, their love and joy are amazing. To me, they are wonderful examples of how to make the most of every opportunity with people. They love each person with an individual and personal love. Their love reminds people of the love of Jesus. I have felt the love of God through them. Each time we have talked, I left our conversations feeling those same feelings—loved, encouraged, and believed in.
Wyndham, thanks for believing in this farm girl from Henderson all those years ago. I pray I can believe in others the way you believed in me.
Loved reading this, Leigh!
I love this amazing recount of how valuable moments with people are. I want to be like Wyndham too and love people in the moment! Thanks Leigh!