I put this piece up on another site some years back.
Philip Pirrip, better known to the world as “Pip” in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, made an intimate and lifelong friend of Herbert Pocket who, as a fine human, was made of better stuff than the hero of the great novel. Pip said of him, “Herbert Pocket had a frank and easy way with him that was very taking. I had never seen anyone then, and I have never seen anyone since, who more strongly expressed to me, in every look and tone, a natural incapacity to do anything secret and mean. There was something wonderfully hopeful about his general air, and something that at the same time whispered to me that he would never be successful or rich. I don’t know how this was.“
I feel a warm jealousy in regard to Herbert Pocket because such a thing could never have been said of me for I never have tended to be open and wonderfully hopeful and I hate it that I could never have been described as having “a natural incapacity to do anything secret and mean.“ Still, I know what it is to cherish a hunger to be that kind of person and since God is faithful who has promised I one day will be—but not yet, I’m afraid.
The hunger for such character is the work of God in us, of course, and He works it in us through people like Herbert in literature or in actual people like Billy Moore, who died just two days ago (11/17/18). I don’t remember the precise year but it was half of forever ago that I met Billy and his wife Jeannie who took me in to their lives and I thank God often for his gift to me of these two.
Billy was the first person I had ever met who struck me as not having any hidden agendas. You understand, no one is Jesus but Jesus; but Billy met me the way a breath of fresh air takes you when you come out of a stuffy theatre. It makes me smile even as I write this when I recall how he expressed himself. There was nothing rude about him on the one hand or sickeningly sweet on the other. He was quick to praise as well as to take issue—both, without any tendency to overkill; naturally, as if it was his way of living, which indeed it was. I’d hear him address congregations in the same manner as he would speak to individuals, strangers as well as friends. I’ve seen him take instruction as if he had been given a gift and I’ve heard him giving it with confidence while respecting his hearers. I’d trust him with my life and all that is any part of me.
But it was only when I came to be fairly well acquainted with Herbert Pocket that I realized, too, that Billy Moore would never be wealthy or “successful”. There is a fine “shallowness” in Pocket that wasn’t in Billy but they both seem to me to have things in their inner structure that make things like wealth and “success” matters of little consequence. I don’t suggest that either of them is opposed to such things much less ignorant of them and I don’t think we should despise honorable ambition—not at all! But it lifts my heart to come across people whose deep sense of success and wealth is not the kind that others (even honorably) seek for.
The world I wake to each morning is a better world for all the Herbert Pockets and Billy Moores that are in it.