What, you say? Well, I'm talking about becoming a great parent and, something that ties directly to that if we are of faith, a great Christian. Sure, some of us won't be great parents if we never have children, but most of us can, and it take a lot of work and dedication and the support of a loving God who wants to help us attain such objectives. But, as just noted, even the non-parent can achieve greatness through their faith and watch their life change dramatically with the impact it has on everyone around us.
So, why did I bring this up this morning? It's because of what I participated in and learned yesterday. You see, in our small country church we celebrated the occasion of our pastor's fiftieth anniversary as an ordained minister of the Methodist Church. Now, of course, he hasn't been in our church all of that time, but we are so blessed to have him in what will likely be his final church assignment. And I was especially blessed to be asked to say some words about him just prior to the service commencing. I want to share a few of my thoughts with you folks as I think this fine man of God is representative of the best of the best ministers in all that he says and does. I won't mention his name as he is a very private and quiet man and he wouldn't want that, but I can tell you that when he rises to deliver his message each Sunday it is a blessing for the world and especially our little church to behold. And this little story took place before he was our minister and it led to his ultimately being sent to us as our pastor.
Several years ago, this blessed man of God was seated in the front row pew of our congregation for services, there to worship with us and listen to his wife, who was and continues to be our glorious music leader, a gifted musician and operatic singer who was playing the opening music. Suddenly, someone approached him and whispered something in his ear, then announced that our regular pastor had been called away on family emergency and that this humble man of soft spoken demeanor would be filling in. Now we all knew that he was a long-time minister and now we would get a chance to hear his message, albeit impromptu. He stood up, walked to the front of the aisle in front of the pulpit, opened the Bible that he carried and looked at a passage for a moment, then closed it and slowly scanned the sanctuary, making eye contact with each one of us.
Then he began to speak. It was soft, yet easily heard and the message was clear and recognized as a biblical story he began to tell. He never looked at any help note, never uttered and uh or any ah along the way and his delivery wasn't like a formal sermon, it was as if he were seated on my porch with me on a hot summer afternoon and joining me in a glass of iced tea. He concluded about twenty five minutes later and as we slowly said our goodbyes and headed home, the only description that came to my mind was the utterance "WOW." This man truly had a special gift and those of us who had the joy of being there yearned to hear more from him.
A number of months later when the existing pastor wanted to relocate out of state to be closer to family, we were truly ecstatic when that wonderful impromptu pastor was announced as his replacement. And since that time each Sunday morning he has continued to fill us with the Spirit with his simple, clear and Bible-relevant stories that touch our lies so dramatically. He will make himself available to anyone at any time of day when the situation requires and his knowledge of the Good Book and what it means in simple terminology has made a huge impact on us all. It has been several years since he joined us and what better thing could we do on a Sunday morning than to celebrate with him the commitment he made so many years ago to be a living representation of what is the best in Bible ministry. We hope and pray that he will be with us for many years to come.
As I look back on yesterday and the stories he had told and I add to that the beautiful music and song that his loving wife adds, it gives me a new human example of what it means and how it is accomplished to fill yourself to overflowing with the Holy Spirit which resides inside each of us. That my friends, is true greatness, because it is greatness in the devotion if gives to God to live for Him and witness for Him with so many who need it so.
In my mind, it's like this. When our music leader opens with the beautiful music, I clearly feel my heart opening to the Spirit. And in that time she is preparing us for the service, my body truly fills with that Spirit. It fills me completely and makes me open and vulnerable to God's Word and love and grace which is being revealed. And then, this wonderful man of God steps forward with his story, one of all those Biblical stories he loves to tell and does so with great joy, and the Spirit that has filled me gushes out of me and cannot be contained. It is just like a glass filled with water which, when overfilled, flows everywhere. In my case, it means I leave church with a bountiful supply of overflowing Spirit which I carry with me and which touches everyone I come into contact with and it makes me want to continue on this path as long as I walk and breathe on our temporary home of earth.
I'll just close with saying, "What a friend we have in Jesus" and what a friend He has given us with this wonderful couple who stir our hearts to let the Spirit free to come out, overflow and help us to do what we know God wants us to do. We take the overflow and use it to proclaim Jesus Christ as our Savior in all we say and do. What a blessing indeed and this wonderful man plays such a part in it as directed by the Lord he loves. It can't get any better than this, folks.