February 6, 2022 J.C. Lowman
February 6, 2022
With thinning hair, black-rimmed glasses, and smiling from ear to ear, J.C. Lowman drove enthusiastically into the gravel parking lot of the small, paint peeling, run-down church in western North Carolina. His ride was a Ford pickup truck. Light green.
Ole James Cecil warmly greeted my wife and I as the new pastor of the five-member Assemblies of God church. The community believed that the church was closed. However, the faithful few had kept utilities paid over the years in decline. The once thriving church had seen the highs of riding the good times and the rough roads of the lean years.
J.C. Lowman was one of those five members. So when J.C. Lowman drove up, grateful for a very young couple, willing to be the pastor, his generosity and warmth overflowed.
For the next six years, it was J.C. that led the prayer for revival. It was J.C. that hoped for new people to attend. It was J.C. who took care of the church finances… in a three-ring notebook. There was no computer software in those days—no QuickBooks. In fact, no computers at all. Even if we did have those modern systems, J.C. Lowman wouldn’t have used them. He was country. A simple man. Dedicated wholeheartedly to the work of the Lord. Common sense kind of guy. Honest! One of his favorite sayings to me was, “Preacher, if Jesus gets ‘em saved, He will also save their wallets so they will tithe!”
It was “brother” J.C. Lowman that pushed the pedal to accelerate church growth. He invited people to church. This man of GOD drove the church refurbishing by painting, lawn care, and maintenance of all sorts. It was J.C that encouraged me through difficult days. It was J.C. that rejoiced over people getting saved. It was this man of faith that raised two beautiful daughters all by himself.
It was J.C. Lowman that led me as a young pastor to love people right where they were. He taught me to be compassionate, forgiving, and kind regardless of other individual’s responses. It was riding in that truck of J.C.’s that I learned vital lessons in life’s journey.
J.C. Lowman taught my wife gardening tips. He was helping her plant the garden, watering tips, assisting her in harvesting potatoes. She had used such great care not to hurt the potato plant by using a kitchen spoon to dig up the ‘taters. Ole J.C. pulled out a shovel from the green Ford pickup truck and simply dug up the potatoes. Smiling, he chuckled and said, “Sister Lynn, this is how we do dig them here!” Yet it was J.C.’s chuckle paired with his extreme kindness not to embarrass her when he saw this ‘city girl’ in action.
It was “brother” Lowman’s soft demeanor being all things to all men to reach some that impacted my life.
Diligent yet flexible.
Truth matched with love.
Hard work followed by fun.
He was soft-spoken and mostly silent in a large crowd, yet powerful in his words to ignite a spark in anyone’s life if they listened to his homespun wisdom.
There is a special place in my life for J.C. Lowman. The mild-mannered, larger-than-life treasurer of our first church pastorate. To this day, I cherish the yellow envelope marked with $17.35 that contained my first week's pay for being their pastor. It was half the offering of my first Sunday as pastor. J.C. Lowman stated just two weeks prior that the church wouldn’t be able to pay us anything. Yet, he handed me the envelope with the check and smiled. He was subtly teaching me that we walk by faith and not by sight!
My head still turns when I glimpse an old, light green, Ford pickup traveling down the road. Memories instantly flood my head of J.C. Lowman. If only I could take one more ride in that truck to ride with my brother, my mentor. To hear him say just one more time, “How is it with you preacher?” What a ride that would be!
-By By Walter Smith, Retired Pastor, Presbyter, and Founder, Men of the Word Ministries
Today’s Scripture: For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. (1 Corinthians 4:17, NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.