The night he picked me up after play practice at high school, my stock there went through the roof. Here I was, the quiet girl who kept mostly to herself, whom no one had ever seen with any guy at all, and suddenly a six foot stud appears who makes all the boys there look about 12, and he has come for me! His name was Steve Bobbitt.
The relationship came to its natural end when he graduated and moved on to his first preaching job and I graduated high school with a couple of scholarships and a major in mind. So what did he have to do with my spiritual development?
Exposure for one thing. From him I first heard the words homiletics, hermeneutics, and apologetics. He didn’t assume a girl wouldn’t care about such things, or even understand them. We often studied together and I’d flip through his classbooks, real college textbooks about the Bible, which fanned my curiosity. He answered my questions like they were important, not like they were a bother. He listened to my thoughts and opinions like they made sense. Today, even some of the men who know I am not an idiot still have that slight air of condescension about them when I say something about a Bible subject. But Steve listened—he treated it like an investment he cared about.
I made the mistake once of complaining about “being a woman and not getting to do anything.” We were headed somewhere down a dark two lane highway, but he immediately pulled the car over and gave me a lecture that amounted to, “Don’t ever say that again. There’s plenty you can do.”
For graduation he gave me a one volume commentary that I have nearly used up, especially in preparing classes and writing class material. Part of his inscription reads, “Here is a book to help your understanding of the Book of books. May the Word of God ever guide you along the roads of life until you at last pass safely through the Arch of Triumph.”
I have met two of Steve’s children, and one son-in-law. It is apparent that he continued in his duties as a spiritual leader all through his life, which ended far too soon a few years ago. He has already found that “Arch of Triumph” and I plan to see him there again one day.
We were young, but this man, even in our youthful relationship, one that was bound to end in a few months, felt a responsibility toward me. A man’s duty as a spiritual leader is not confined to family relationships. It’s about whoever you come into contact with, especially in a relationship where you are the natural leader, whether by age or gender or role or, in our case, a few of those things combined. He left an impact on me that the next man, the last one, could bring to completion. Because of the three men who came before, the pump was primed, but the job was not yet finished.
Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the mind of his friend, Prov 27:17.
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