This week’s column in the series “thanksgiving” reminds me that I first met this person when he was 5 years old. He was a little boy playing the piano and yes, his feet were not touching the ground, he was helped up onto the piano bench to play. His fingers went to walking over the keyboard creating music and out of his mouth came a voice that you knew immediately was unique and one of a kind.
This little boy appeared to be destined to share his musical talents which could only be described for a 5-year-old as gifts from God. With hundreds of thousands of miles driving and flying under his belt and with thousands of concerts and venues playing host to his talents, Mark Shannon Bunch has served his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ non-stop playing the piano, singing and even preaching with each mile logged in his journey to be a disciple of Jesus.
Friendships are an amazing gift from God, so I believe and I confess that when I first saw him playing and singing as a child never did I imagine the friendship that would have grown from then to now, over the past 30 plus years. Shannon, as he is known to audiences and his friends is gifted in more than just music. My “thanks” this season goes beyond his obvious talent but to the heart of his character and being. “Thanks” Shannon for being a great listener. His gift of listening is not in one year and out the other, but rather an intent listening to hear what you are really saying. This talent is not held by all and for most listening is just an act. Shannon is a “giving” person whose heart is touched by the experiences of others and he puts his thoughts into actions, something also lacking by many who assume the role of bystanders in the crowd instead of becoming a leader from the pack.
Each spring I begin to assembly my thoughts of individuals and organizations, young and old that have made an impact. Sometimes there is a carryover from the previous year where I just ran out of weeks in which to acknowledge the difference others have made by sharing their lives with others.
Our friendship, the one Shannon and I share has grown with each year and with each new days experience. Geographically from Barbourville, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee and now even the state of Texas, our friendship covers some land. Our experiences together include his wife Melissa and their daughter Emme Blu. What laughter we’ve shared and memories we’ve all built all because as a 5-year-old Shannon was already doing what he loved.
In friendship trust comes from trying and confidence comes from confiding. Shannon Bunch has impacted countless lives through his ministry and while I’m saying ‘thanksgiving’ I know what Shannon is saying…”To God Be the Glory.”
Follow Tim Mills on Twitter @THMills.