Pearson was a world changer

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sometimes you don’t realize how much of a difference one person can make in the world until you see someone else doing it better than you.

It’s seemed, lately, that everyone in Natchez knew the Rev. Steve Pearson.

With 25 years of service as pastor of a local church, his daily life would have put him in contact with dozens of residents, no doubt.

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But the measure of people that knew Bro. Steve, loved Bro. Steve, was more than for what a regular life would account.

Even those who didn’t know Bro. Steve were advised, in recent weeks, that it would be good to meet him, since his days on earth truly did seem numbered.

Those who knew him, you see, realized that those who didn’t were missing out on a blessing.

And all those hundreds of people who knew and loved Bro. Steve knew and loved him for the same reasons — his attitude, his smile, his sense of humor and his caring personality.

Bro. Steve didn’t treat any one person different from the next. He didn’t switch to a slightly different persona when he moved from one segment of his life to the next.

Everyone who knew Bro. Steve, knew the same Bro. Steve.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I tried to avoid one-on-one interactions with Bro. Steve.

As a member of the Natchez Trace Kiwanis, a group Bro. Steve practically helped found locally, I had lunch in the same room with him nearly every Thursday for the last five or so years.

For me, quick walks from my office to The Carriage House for Kiwanis lunch are often rushed affairs.

Lunch and membership in the club can sometimes get in the way of the hectic daily schedule newspaper life creates, especially when you are in negative mood.

I sometimes, regretfully, arrive a bit cranky and ready to get on with my day, not to sit and enjoy conversation for an hour.

Bro. Steve could ruin a good pity party quickly.

Just a few seconds of seeing his ear-to-ear grin and hearing his cheerful greetings would bring my bad day to a crashing halt.

That’s a good thing, yes, but sometimes, bad days like to fester.

Bro. Steve wasn’t one to be avoided though. God gave him too much encouragement to share.

So, time after time, his smiles won out, even when he was battling the cancer that killed him, and I had to learn my lesson the hard way.

My mood is probably the most insignificant on the list of contributions Bro. Steve made to Natchez.

But insignificant wasn’t a word in Bro. Steve’s vocabulary.

Whether it was in his own family, at his church, with the Natchez Children’s Home or simply in the Natchez community, Bro. Steve’s attitude made a difference.

Friends can tell story after story about lives Bro. Steve helped to change, even save.

Person after person can share testimony about the impact Bro. Steve made on them.

Natchez lost a great encourager Sunday, a great difference-maker.

It’s up to those Bro. Steve left behind to fill that void and change the world around us.

Bo Swilley, the associate pastor who worked most closely with Bro. Steve at Community Chapel Church of God, said it well.

“You can’t replace a Steve Pearson. You can put someone in his place, but you can’t replace him,” he said.

No one will replace Bro. Steve, but our community will be a better place if we all decide to follow in his footsteps — the ones that led him, and many others, straight to God.

Bro. Steve was here to teach us. What did we learn?

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or