I received notice from the son of one of my professors asking me to vote for his dad for the person of the week on ABC news. Dr. Fred B. Craddock is one of the most intriguing men I have known, although he is retired, he is still in active ministry. He was my preaching professor. Many students went there just to soak up his knowledge but I had never heard of him. Fred was on sabbatical that fall but in the spring word spread like wildfire that the preacher at chapel service would be Craddock. The only seats left were in a balcony behind the pulpit which gave me a clear view of the top of Dr. Craddock’s bald head and of his note-less pulpit. He spoke of John the Baptist. I would like to share one of his “Craddock Stories”.
“I was called back to Oklahoma while in Atlanta. The voice on the phone didn’t have to say who she was. She just began saying, “Ray died.” He was a friend of mine in a little church where I had served. It had been years. “Ray wanted you to come and have his funeral, if you could.” “I’ll come,” I said. There was the funeral where I talked to Mary and the others and all the family was gathered. The little church gave a dinner following the funeral. We came from the graveyard to the church. We sat around and talked, and as the peripheral people began to drift away, it left only the family. Kathryn the oldest daughter was there. When I served that church, she was thirteen. I remember when I left, and she was the worst thirteen year old I had ever seen. She was noisy, in and out, pushing, shoving, breaking things, never stayed in the room, never paid attention. When I left there, I could have said, “If there’s one person that doesn’t know a thing I’ve said in the time I was here, it would be Kathryn. We were talking and I said, “I’m sorry it’s such a tough time.” She said, “It is tough. When Mother called and said Dad died, I was scrambling for something. Then I remembered a sermon you had preached on the Lord’s Supper.” I said, “You’re kidding, and she told me something I said in the sermon. So pastors, keep preaching. People keep listening; you never know when those words will come to your aid.