“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” —William Shakespeare. This quote is intriguing for it caused me to consider that few men recognize when they are in the presence of greatness until it is removed from their midst.
Such is the case for those who were acquainted with Rev. Paul A. McDaniel Sr. He was born into a great priestly family, he achieved greatness in his service to humanity, and was hailed as great among his peers.
Pastor Paul A. McDaniel Sr. was a unique individual of sorts, one who’s ministry was forged in the fire of the academy and the pressure of the civil rights movement. Most of the Chattanooga community is familiar with him as a County Commissioner, civil rights icon, strategic statesman, and polished politician, but his flock saw that and more because of how he served families. He served families when bereaved, he cared for the sick, poor, marginalized, and destitute. He offered himself as a vessel to be used, that God’s people might be transformed. Each week he mounted the sacred pulpit and expounded on the richness of the Gospel. With messages that often revolved around love as its central theme. Members would often state, “Pastor McDaniel always preaches about love”, and to that end Second has an atmosphere that is permeated by the love of God and love for one another.
Second is a church that knows how to love.
That was the essence of his ministry. He preached love, he taught love, and lived out love among us. I witnessed this firsthand as he served in the capacity of Pastor Emeritus. Even in retirement, being there when called upon was important to him. He ministered to families in need and on most occasions we served jointly in funerals, weddings, and other special occasions.
I often viewed our “tag team” approach as Paul and Timothy, an elder pastor serving alongside a young pastor. We shared a fraternal brotherhood beyond that of our pastoral bonds that gave us an opportunity for further fellowship, and for that I am grateful. Yet, above it all, we shared as Co-Laborers of the gospel. We must never forget that his first calling was a Pastor. Pastor McDaniel was God’s Man, and his charge was far greater than the Hippocratic oath or that of jurisprudence because his charge was given to him from the highest of heavenly chambers, from God almighty himself.
Although, I will miss his physical presence I now find comfort in knowing that he is leaning across the banisters of heaven, cheering, and encouraging us on. He now is a part of that great cloud of witnesses, that the Hebraic writer spoke of telling us to run on to see what the end is going to be. He now has taken his rest.
Rest Well my Brother,
Dr. Ernest L. Reid, Jr., Pastor
Second Missionary Baptist Church