This week, Bishop Dean Livingston, met the One who’s sacrifice brought a young man to tears in typing class. I remember him telling me the story. He said that he had just read a book on the sufferings of Christ, and began to think about it during the class.
Bishop became so overwhelmed with emotion, that he couldn’t finish the assignment that day. The teacher knew him, and his calling, so she excused him. When he told me, it wasn’t to boast, but to illustrate how the love of God should overwhelm our lives.
Bishop spent his life pursuing this passion. He loved Jesus, people, and music. In connecting with people, He reflected his love for Christ. Bishop used all of his talents, including his music, to point the people he met back to Jesus.
He also loved Gary Cooper, his favorite western was High Noon. I mention it because it’s another one of those stories that illustrates him. It’s a story about a man who stood for what was right, in spite of every obstacle.
Bishop Livingston, like Gary Cooper, wasn’t just about standing against something evil, he was standing for what was good and right. There is a drastic difference between being for something, as opposed to only being against something else. It was that Bishop loved Jesus more than anything, and that is what empowered him.
He always would repeat the lines to Tex Ritter’s song from that film. “Do not forsake me oh my darling…” Bishop was committed to his faith, nothing would cause him to forsake that which was birthed in him during a cottage prayer meeting. His life was about being true to God, standing against all odds, and reaching others.
There’s not enough time to mention every lesson he taught me on how to love God, but maybe just one more. Bro Joe David Sizemore, a legendary minister, due to something which couldn’t be helped, was unable to get to the Conference service that night in time. There had to be a special speaker, and he needed to be able to match the expectations of the people, who were planning on hearing Bro Sizemore.
As far as I know, even with all the famous men of my childhood that were there, no one debated. They turned to the one man who, everyone believed, could be awakened at three in the morning, a Bible placed in his hand, and preach a life changing sermon. Bishop was asked to take the speaker’s place.
I believe, that night, it was “The Elder Shall Serve The Younger”. How I remember that message, as well as “The Great I Am”, “God’s ICU Ward, and “The Armed Angel”. Oh, those precious words from a man who believed and loved them with everything in him.
He taught me why to believe, how to hold on in trials, and what to answer those with questions. He loved God, and people knew it. Bishop completed his assignment, typing out through the keys of his life, the message that Jesus loves us, and we should love Him completely.
Thank you Bishop, for all you’ve taught us. I pray we can truly follow your example, in pursuing Jesus, I Love You!