Across my 52 years of ministry, I’ve been called many things: Pastor Roy, Brother Roy, Dr. Lauter, Professor Lauter, Prof, ‘Pope Roy of New Hope”, and Rev. Lauter to name just a few. The list could go on. Perhaps some other titles would not be appropriate for a Christian website.
One of the most endearing titles I have been given is “Cheeto Man”. A wonderful little boy named Stuart gave this name to me. The occasion was Shiloh Camp Meeting in Carroll County, Georgia. After the evening services, Stuart’s family and friends would gather on the front porch of the “Preacher’s Tent” to share food and fellowship. Stuart and I enjoyed sharing a favorite snack – “Cheetos”. Thus, 4 year old Stuart tagged me as the “Cheeto Man”. Stuart was becoming a part of a fellowship routine I had enjoyed throughout 40 years of preaching on a rotating basis at this camp.
In the early years, I knew Stuart’s great-grandparents. His grandparents are still treasured Christian friends, as are his great aunts and uncles. I still remember Stuart’s parents and their cousins, when they were small children, begging to stay overnight on the campgrounds with the ‘big’ kids. Now, there is Stuart.
The Psalmist shares this wonderful truth, “ Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord.” (Ps. 127:3) The words of Proverbs 17:6 provide this interesting insight, “Old people are proud of their grandchildren, and children are proud of their parents.” Stuart represents a fading tradition across our great country. In the past, it was the norm for families to worship together and share food and fellowship with neighbors. The Bible and church were the centers from which family values, moral instruction, and wholesome social relationships were drawn. We were better people then because God was at the heart of our families and communities.
Children learn from such times of interaction. In Exodus 20, the Lord warns that the iniquity of the fathers would be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations. But praise His Holy Name the corollary is also true. The Lord’s mercy is even more abundantly given to the descendants of righteous people. The lingering effects of righteousness will last on through succeeding generations.
As I shared Cheetos and fellowship with Stuart, I could not help but think of the scripture in James 4:14, “ What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” I have shared the gospel across forty years with the families of Shiloh. “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendents begging bread. He is ever merciful and lends; and his descendants are blessed.”(Psalm 37:25/26) Stuart has a bright future because of the faithfulness of a Christian family and community through the years. I am grateful to be a part of Stuart’s heritage. I’m glad to be called the Cheeto Man.
~ Brother Roy