A Humbling Day of Thanks

What an amazing and humbling day.

It began with a wonderful FBC-101 class, with five people considering membership at First Baptist.  The subject of this particular class was FBC’s past and future, where we’ve been and where we believe God is leading us.  It is always stirring and heart-warming to look back and see what God has done for us, then to look forward with hope to the future.

Then we moved to a very special worship service.  Once each year, I do not preach.  Instead, I lead our congregation in a time of thanksgiving.  We simply pass the microphone around and allow people to offer their praises to God for Who He is and for His marvelous works among the children of men.  It is always one of the most moving services at FBC.  Many of those who testified of God’s grace in their lives did so with tears of joy.  It’s just hard to keep one’s eyes dry.

Then I had the joy of baptizing two young people who are committed to following Christ.  Both of these are special to me.  Philip Miles is a young man of amazing talents and a captivating whimsy.  You never know what to expect from Philip, but you know it’s going to be fun.  And today was no exception.  After I baptized him, Philip splashed me with water.  I told my friend Jody, his father, that I baptized Philip like a good Baptist, then he baptized me like a good Presbyterian!

After Philip, I got to live out every pastor’s dream.  I had the joy of baptizing my own daughter, Hope Marie.  How happy we have been to see her profess faith in Christ and then to see the early evidence of her sincerity.  How blessed to call her my daughter, and my sister.

After worship, we went downstairs for what I had been told was a fellowship dinner hosted by our Deacon’s for no reason other than to provide a time of fellowship for our church family.  It turned out to be a celebration dinner for my tenth anniversary as pastor of FBC.  Various people offered words of congratulations, or told a story of some special memory, or roasted me a little bit.  My favorite moment was when a man for whom I have profound admiration commented that Debi is soft-spoken and quiet, but powerfully demonstrates the love of Christ in her everyday life.  Then they presented us with the most beautiful quilted blankets I’ve ever seen and a basket of cards.  It really was overwhelming.

I have to say a word about my own perspective of all this, my experience of this moment.  It’s not only humbling, but a bit surreal, to hear people speak such kind words, when the truth is that I have learned more from them than I have ever taught and have been blessed by them more than I have been a blessing.  It’s somewhat bewildering, and felt almost dishonest, to watch them over these years accomplish such incredible things for God’s glory … and then thank me for it.  What a wonderful flock. 

Father, You have drawn out the boundaries of my habitation in pleasant places.  How kind You have been to bring me to these fine people, who have become my family.  My life is abundant.  May others know the peaceful joy you have brought to me.

gkr1996 posted at 2009-11-22 Category: Uncategorized