Marvin Phillips was a common man lifted mightily by God to reach deeply into the recesses of the human heart. He had a way…did he not…of connecting with every level and caliber of people. And was that not the identical trek of Jesus? Yes, it is the Suffering Servant who influenced this man to imagine reaching to the entire world.
I had the incredible fortune of getting to walk beside Marvin on all kinds of paths. We laughed an awful lot…and often we wept. He tried to teach me to keep smiling. And, wasn’t Marvin the master of that? He lit up every room. I watched him bring abundant joy to large crowds when, all the while, he was dealing with constantly harsh criticism. This is one of the things that made Marvin…well…Marvin. He understood the normal sufferings of the common man and woman. Indeed, God used this friend of ours for he was a very humble man.
While he was often found to be on center-stage, at times with some famous and influential people, Marvin’s heart was never distracted from rooting for the sufferer in the audience. He had learned something from God and was destined, insistently so, to forward the Good News! This friend of ours may have been a Master Speaker, but such skill came about only because he was first a Master Learner. Marvin walked with a listening ear toward the Spirit of God.
This great man of giantastic ability will live in perpetuation even though his body now rests for a bit. He lit our spirits and taught us to expect to soar with hope and joy and love. If his words weren’t enough, his smile created a contagion of magnificent impact. What made him tick? What was it that caused him to be as magic among us? It seems simple to me. Marvin Phillips never forgot that he was a sinner like all of the rest of us who caught a glimpse of grace and mercy…and his heart was so flooded by this marvel that he could not help but tell every person, every church, and every nation that crossed his path.
Marvin was never about Marvin. No he was obsessed with two overriding goals: Giving glory to God and cheering you and me onward. Thank. You. Friend.