Gracias, Tío Juan

Your Mind Matters. Here, in the title of one of his early and shorter books, John Stott captured an affirmation and a challenge. An affirmation and a challenge lived out in his own life. Life mattered, our mind mattered, indeed all God had gifted us mattered. Hence our mind was to be neither ignored nor idolised, but rather put to kingdom service. The title of the final chapter? ‘Acting on our knowledge.’ Yes, the discipleship challenge was to know God and God’s way in the world and to act on that knowledge.
Life mattered to John Stott and in the Bible he discovered the basics that both motivated and nurtured behaviour.
Bible teacher of the highest calibre I watched him engaging people in South America and here in Australia.
Basic Christianity was just that; a treasure of the basics of following Jesus.
The basics were there in his writings. The Cross of Christ, a standard reference, is near to my desk to this day; as is his New Issues Facing Christians Today.
Behaviour mattered and his participation in missiological consultations such as the Willowbank Report, ‘Gospel and Culture’, encouraged sensitive contextual mission.
Tío Juan (Uncle John) was the term of endearment used to address him by South Americans. His wisdom was that of an uncle wise in life’s challenges and caring in speaking of it. His clear, rich vocabulary and straightforward biblical exposition was readily translated and engaged eager listeners so effectively that his books were translated into Spanish.
I recall him allowing others pass by him in a lunch queue. Gentle, warm, interested, humble: full of grace and truth.
Gracias, Tío Juan for the Bible, basics and behaviour.

John Harrower is Bishop of Tasmania and a Vice-president of EFAC Australia.