By Steve Holt, Opinion Editor
A rough-looking man approaches an older man in Seattle, demanding his wallet. Seeing through to the man’s heart and need for salvation, the older man said, “You don’t need to be a thief. Let me give you my wallet.”
This was Stanley.
While boarding an airplane, a drunk clumsily throws his overcoat into the overhead bin and rudely climbs over the older man to his seat on the inside. When the plane had been boarded, the older man took the overcoat from the bin, folded it neatly, and put it back.
This was Stanley.
Sunday evening, a man of God was unexpectedly taken from this earth. But this event should not cause sorrow-Stanley wouldn’t want that. He is happier now than he ever was on earth (hard to believe, huh?).
I don’t remember many of the personal encounters I had with Stanley Shipp, but the stories I have been told about him since I was little will forever be etched in my heart.
When I was much younger, upon hearing my parents talking about a time when Stanley confessed sins, I blurted out, “Stanley doesn’t sin, does he?” I was thoroughly convinced that a man so in love with his creator and savior was incapable of any wrongdoing.
Stanley would have giggled at that statement, then quickly set me straight.
Stanley and his wife Marie ministered to youth and college students well beyond when most men his age would have moved on. Colleges all over the United States were treated to Stanley’s enthusiastic and practical lessons from the Bible.
From there, the Shipps committed their lives not only to bringing the joy-giving gospel to the world, but to training others to do so. He founded the Spiritual Internship Training Center in St. Louis, from where his teams planted churches in Switzerland, West Africa, France, New England and many other locations. Stanley took a group of young men and women around the world, literally, loving the unlovable and teaching the lost. While in Calcutta, India, Stanley arranged a private group meeting with Mother Teresa. Even now, the similarities between Stanley and Teresa remain.
The incredible contents of his long life reached their ultimate climax five days ago when Stanley finally got what he has longed for-eternity in the presence of our creator, without pain and hunger or sadness.
While on this earth, Stanley was anything but timid about sharing his faith. He would talk to anyone, about anything. Stanley wouldn’t have thought he was anyone to imitate, but he is. He deserves remembering, but not mourning. Be sad for the loss of Stanley the man, but envy his soul-he is finally meeting his Jesus.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” II Timothy 1:7