Thursday, August 11, 2011

Hard Good-byes

Once a month, my congregation gets together with another congregation in the area and sings for an hour.  It's a rare thing for Churches of Christ to get together regularly with anyone, so I have always thought this was an encouraging tradition here.  Last night was my last Singing Night with Bethel, and before my devotional I briefly told them that I would be leaving at the end of August.  Afterwards, many from Bethel came to say good-bye.  It was during that time of restrained tears and smiles that I received the most touching compliment I think I've ever been given.  A woman came up to me and said that she was horrified to hear that I was leaving.  She said something along the lines of, "Every time I hear you speak, your words are like water for my dry soul."  That really touched me.

As a minister, I'm paid to speak.  Now some would quibble over how I'm paid for much more than that, and I am, but I have to admit that much of what I do is speaking.  Preaching, teaching, comforting, visiting...I'm paid to talk to people.  I hope that when I open my mouth, the Spirit uses me to help those around me.  I hope that God speaks through me, but when your job is to speak, you're never quite sure how effective your efforts are.  I'm not exactly in a business that has immediate results.  I wonder if anything I do or say matters.

Well, I can't speak for everyone, but it mattered to the lady last night.  "Like water for my dry soul," of course I don't take this as a comment on how great I am.  Ask my wife, I'm not all that great much of the time.  However, my job as a minister in the Church is to bring people to Jesus, the living water that quenches all thirst.  It seems that for one woman, at least, I have accomplished that goal.

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink....'  Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?..."  And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' -Matthew 25:34-35a, 37, 40

Last night this woman gave me a great gift.  She said something in such a way that made me really feel like I wasn't wasting my life as a minister.  I wanted to write this post so that I wouldn't ever forget.  I doubt she knew that a man who is paid to speak would hear God speak through her.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot express how proud I am of you. Dad and I have watched you and Kalyn both "grow" so much in the past 3 years. Farmington is not only losing a great preacher, but a wonderful man and young family. I love you and thank God for you. And I for one am so excited about the move!! Love you BJ, see you in September.
    Mom P.

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