Pottering and Prayer
As John Stott turns 80, he still finds weeds to pull, birds to watch, and petitions to make
April 2, 2001
That first morning, as I walked into John Stott's bedroom (my office during daylight hours), I found his 10-page, handwritten manuscript on my desk with a note: "This is an interview for a book written for single people in their 20s. Could you give me your feedback on what I've said, and suggest any changes to make it more interesting or relevant?" Not certain the thoughts of this 21-year-old were of any value, I nevertheless carefully read through the manuscript and listed several suggested additions, deletions, and modifications.
The next morning, there again on my desk was the manuscript and a note: "What do you think now?" The interview had been rewritten—and every single suggestion employed. Britain's world-renowned, 75-year-old writer and teacher had consented to every piece of advice from a recent college graduate on his first day of work.
I had learned a key characteristic of John Stott: his disarming humility.
John Stott turns 80 years old on April 27. Known principally for his writing (almost 40 books) and preaching, Stott has been one of the most influential leaders of world evangelicalism in the last 50 years. Much has been written about Stott's theology and his influence on evangelicalism worldwide, with little attention paid to his personal life.
As his study assistant from 1996 to 1999, responsible for everything from research to making tea and running errands, I have often been asked what personal qualities make Stott the man he is.
Of the many characteristics I could mention, these struck me most: his humility, his discipline of prayer, and his balance of work and play.
You notice his humility first in the priority he gives to others. To speak with him briefly after church in a crowded hallway is to be the absolute ...