"Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near" (Philippians 4:5, NASB).
T. B. Larimore was one of the best preachers to serve in the Churches of Christ in America. Converted to Jesus Christ after the Civil War, he started preaching a few years later and did not stop until his death in the late 1920s. During that time, Mr. Larimore was instrumental in bringing thousands of people to the Lord.
Although T. B. Larimore was known as an eloquent speaker, he was even better known for his character. He was a careful Bible student, a devoted family man, and a man of integrity who obviously cared about people. In an era when religious debates were popular, he avoided arguments. (He only engaged in one debate, in which both participants treated each other with deep respect and courtesy.) Even when insulted from the audience by a potential opponent, T. B. would thank the antagonist for his comments and move on with his biblical message.
Several years ago, while reading In Step with the Spirit by Rubel Shelly, I came across this paragraph:
"A while back I was reading of a man who was led to Christ by a gentle soul named T. B. Larimore. The man in question had been to hundreds of church services and dozens of evangelistic meetings before Larimore came and preached in the town. So someone asked him, 'Why did you respond to the gospel under Brother Larimore's preaching when you hadn't before?' His answer is a rebuke to some of us and our methods. 'From other preachers I'd learned I was going to hell,' he said, 'but they seemed pleased that I was. From Larimore I learned I was going to hell, but I could tell it broke his heart to have to tell me so.'"
I would like to be like T. B. Larimore...faithful to the biblical message (even the hard parts) while caring about the people who hear it. I believe that was the key to his effectiveness. Obviously, the Spirit of Christ lived in T. B. Larimore.