One of the most interesting life stories I've heard was that of the Rev. Cato Dick, a United Methodist pastor, now deceased. Recently, someone asked if I had known him, and the questions prompted a flood of memories.
He was born in Porsgrunn, Norway, into a family of great wealth. While Dick was being groomed to become the country's minister of defense, his father died very suddenly. Even as Dick attended the state funeral, he was filled with bitterness toward God.
The bitterness crystallized into a desire for happiness and success for himself. He became successful socially and professionally as an engineer, yet his thirst for more success was insatiable. "It was like drinking salt water," he said. "I only became more thirsty and empty."
When the emptiness of his life overwhelmed him, Dick opened the Bible and read, "Whoever drinks of the water that I gave him will never thirst" (John 4:14). Shortly thereafter, he attended a Methodist church revival. During the revival, he felt called to be a full-time pastor.
In college, Norway's Crown Prince Olav and Dick were classmates. When Olav was named king in 1981, Dick, then a pastor in the U.S., attended the gala occasion.
In the meantime, he had received his seminary degree from Boston School of Theology. Despite his difficulty with the language, he had graduated cum laude.
Bishop Richard Looney recently told me that when Dick received his first appointment, it was to a small, rural church in New England. His greatest difficulty was with American colloquialisms. For example, he told the president of the church's women's group that he'd like to talk with her about some coming events. She replied, "Stop by anytime except Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm always tied up then."
Can't you imagine the Norwegian thinking, "That poor woman. I wonder why she allowed herself to be tied up twice a week?"
To have known Cato Dick is to have known that, though he walked with earthly kings, he was most pleased to know and walk with Jesus, the king of kings.
Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. Contact her at nellwmohney@com cast.net.