Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about a great Elder in the faith: Orlando Smith.
Brother Orlando was the first man to teach me about the tassels (Numbers 15:37-41), back in 1998. I was sitting in my in-law’s living room, and he had these strings hanging from his clothes. I didn’t know what they were. I asked. He explained. I tied my first set that night. Me and my father-in-law even wrote a song together about the ribband of blue. I still sing it today.
Orlando was a dedicated man of YHWH. He was quiet. He talked slowly. He was old when I met him. He studied a lot. He would sit in the living room there and study all day long. Sometimes he’d nod off, then he’d wake up and start studying again.
Orlando had calloused knees from kneeling down often to pray. He would always get on his knees to pray. He said it was a way to humble ourselves before the Almighty.
He had two silver trumpets that he would blow at the same time. A Tennessee newspaper once took a picture of him on top of his house, blowing both trumpets. The county was trying to get him to move some trucks out of his yard that had been there “forever.” He didn’t believe he needed to. He was blowing the trumpets in defiance of local government persecution, lol. Orlando meant business.
Orlando wore a hat all the time, but with the bill cut off. Most of the time his hat would have the Sacred Name on it, in Aramaic or Paleo script. Once though it was a Philadelphia Eagles hat. I never asked him why. It’s possible he didn’t even know that was a football team. He mightta’ thought it stood for the scripture about eagles wings.
Orlando wore an untrimmed beard, solid white. He also didn’t trim the hair on the temples of his head. That’s how he understood Leviticus 19:27. One time I saw him walk in the house and his beard was crooked. I said, “Brother Orlando! Your beard!” He responded that he had gotten a new shirt with the Tetragrammaton on it. With his long, untrimmed beard you couldn’t see the writing. He had trimmed his beard so people could see the Name on his shirt. He trimmed it crooked. 😃
I was at a Feast of Tabernacles up in Pennsylvania about 15 years ago, and brother Orlando was there. They had a huge congregational sukkah; the biggest I’ve ever seen. One night it started to rain. I said, “Brother Orlando, we’re going to go inside or get in the van. C’mon with us.” He said he’d be fine. He reached down in his sleeping bag, pulled out a plastic sheet, and pulled it over his head. I watched him lay there under that sukkah with the rain drops hitting him right in his face on the plastic.
Orlando told me that when he prayed, he always asked Yahweh to enlarge the borders of his heart, so that all the commandments could fit there. He didn’t want to neglect anything in Torah. I believe he was a man after Yahweh’s own heart.
Brother Orlando died somewhere in his 80’s. I wasn’t there. I didn’t attend his funeral. I don’t even know if he had a funeral. I don’t think he would care either way. He wasn’t well known on this planet, and he never tried to make a name for himself. His reward will be great in the Kingdom. He’s in the book of remembrance, because he feared Yahweh, and had a high regard for His name. He will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
Rest in peace wise Elder. You made a huge impact on me. I still think about you most every day.
Yahweh’s message should not be made merchandise of. I’ve been teaching and writing for years now. I know the amount of work and labor that goes into these things. I know when someone is excessively charging for a CD or DVD or book.
I realize that it is ok for a true minister to be compensated. Don’t muzzle the mouth of the ox that treads the grain. A laborer is worthy of his hire. I get all that. But if you have to hike up the price of something you offer, and peddle it like you would a cleaning supply, is that really honoring the Most High?
I believe a person’s ministry should be self-sustaining. We should not be in the ministry to get rich. It shouldn’t be what we use to make us wealthy. We should instead work and labor like everyone else. Scripture is not against a wealthy man who has earned it honestly.
Ministers, if we are putting out material that Yahweh smiles upon, He will provide us the means to do that. He will make a way for that to happen.
I’ve never asked anyone for money, and Yahweh has always provided. I don’t turn down an offering, but I don’t ask, and certainly don’t beg. Some of these guys I see are always begging for a donation. I just don’t see Yeshua and His apostles doing this at all.
I’ve never felt comfortable putting a price on any book I’ve written, or on a teaching CD I’ve made. Maybe a minimal price is fine, but I’m just not comfortable with it. Send it to whoever wants it, and Yahweh will take care of you. People will donate. People will see true effort. We don’t have to peddle the law or gospel.
My 21st wedding anniversary is in less than three weeks. I love my wife all year long, but this time of year stirs up all kinds of memories, and makes me re-evaluate my relationship with her.
I like to log all my thoughts down so my children will be able to read them one day when I'm gone. So you'll be seeing a lot of posts about my wife, and about marriage in general.
Here's something I remember fondly. Before we were married, Tisha would bring me hot wings from a local wing place. She'd show up at my school, after school, with piping-hot-hot-wings. She's taken care of my appetite since the beginning. 😃
The first time we went out together (we weren't a couple yet) we were with a youth group at Wendys in Conyers GA. She offered me her French fries and of course I took them, lol. Later on she told me she wanted the fries, but wanted to give them to me. She knew the way to my heart. 😂
She's always taken care of me. She still feeds me well to this day. Those of you that know her know she is basically a 5 star chef. Several women have complimented her on not only the taste of her food but the presentation. I remember one sister that came to our house to eat said "Tisha's food always looks so pretty." Tisha says that people eat with their eyes first.
She always makes my plate for me. When she says it's time to eat, I go sit at the table, and she makes my plate and brings it to me. Please don't think I force her to do that, lol. It's one way she shows me she loves me.
These things that people call little things have made an impact on me. No matter how small a matter, she puts me first. It's really amazing. She is such a good wife.
Sometimes us husbands spend so much time making sure everyone else is taken care of, that we forget to love and nurture our wives.
She's your closest neighbor. She's Yahweh's gift to you. Don't expect her to blossom and grow without water and sunshine.
I've told a lot of men over the years that their job is to love their wife as Christ loved the Church. After almost 21 years, I'm still working on obeying that commandment. I fail a lot, but I don't give up.
If you want to be treated like a King, treat your wife like a Queen. The husband is the head of the wife. That doesn't mean you start bucking up your chest. That means it begins with us husbands. It means it's up to us husbands. We cannot sit idle and just expect something good to happen. We must do our job first, in order for marriage and family to function properly.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.