Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Jeannie Has Spunk Too!

By on November 17, 2014

Right now I’m sitting in the Chemotorium with my sweetheart. This is the last in a series of chemo sessions designed to “seek and destroy.” As you might expect, to be effective the chemo just naturally leaves a path of ancillary damage in its hunt for those rogue cancer cells. So the lady beside me is missing things like  strength, appetite, energy…and hair. But Jeannie still has spunk!

By the time we had moved through the waiting room, into the lab, and over into the Chemotorium, I watched in amazement as Jeannie personally greeted literally every person here. In most instances she knows names, children, care-giving friends, family situations and needs for prayer. And if today is like every other, she has already picked out the folks in the crowd with whom she’ll share a personal word of encouragement before we leave. If this was church, Jeannie would be the last out the door. When I mention that, she reminds me that turn-about is fair play. (I personally don’t think “snitty” is part of the fruit of the Spirit!)

We’ve only been here a short time, but the doctor stood and chatted for awhile, a nurse  stopped by to show a new photo of his daughter, and another person just had to show her a picture of his wife’s new Yorkshire Terrier.  (When I am distracted I sometimes miss a little of a conversation. I looked up expecting to see a picture of his wife, “Yorky,” only to be surprised by both her name and her remarkably generous facial hair. Fortunately, similar experiences have taught me to await further clarification before speaking…usually). Anyway, with all her acquaintances, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover Jeannie has an office somewhere in this complex.

What I am attempting to convey is that, though she’s the patient, Jeannie has determined not to relinquish her love, interest and concern for others. That takes spunk! Just like Babe the Beagle. This old gal has still “got it,” chemo notwithstanding. I love that about her…and I’m learning from her. When Paul wrote the church at Philippi, he quickly turned their attention from himself, a Roman prisoner, to them! “I’m grateful for your gifts, he wrote, but let’s talk about you and your need. My God shall supply every need of yours according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19)!

Paul had spunk…so does Jeannie!

Rejoice evermore!

Tom Elliff

1 Tim:1:12

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  • Ahnnie

    I agree whole-heartedly, Tom.  You can see, even over the internet, that Jeannie is intentional about her decision “not to relinquish her love, interest, and concern for others.”  It shows and you can’t fake authenticity.  As John said in his “little books” I hope to see you both face to face soon because pen and ink are just not completely satisfactory.

  • REBECCAHOGG1

    Tom,
    Bill sent me your blog. I have created an account. I look forward to praying more specifically for the journey Jeannie and you are on….  Jeannie will never lose her love and compassion for those around her because the disease has not and cannot touch her heart. It belongs to Jesus and you.   Rebecca