I had the privilege this past week of attending the Baptist World Mission's annual meeting hosted this week at our church. It was a blessing to me to see so many preachers that I have grown up hearing throughout the years. To see their faithful service to the Lord was a blessing to me!
This Monday night's meeting was extra special in that, my pastor from years gone by was there attending the meeting. He is older now, walks a bit slower and his body is a bit leaner than in years gone by; but he still is faithfully serving the Lord.
I was able to sit down and talk with him about some things. It was an absolute joy. I wondered if he even realizes what an impact he had on my life? I owe a lot to this man of God. I grew up in his church listening to his preaching Sunday after Sunday. I was there as a little girl - too young to understand most of what he was preaching - but sat and listened quietly as I had been taught. I grew older in his church and his messages became clearer as I matured. I have always admired his zeal, his fervency for truth. I LOVED the Bible stories that he told in chapel - (his Bible story of Naaman is my absolute all time favorite!)
He preached my sixth grade commencement service. He preached out of Daniel One. I can remember his message as if it was yesterday. He challenged us to purpose in our hearts as Daniel did to not defile ourselves with the things of this world. "Does he realize how much I have thought of that message in years gone by?"
I remember often turning on the radio at lunch time to listen to him preach. I sat in awe that the man on the radio was my pastor. He was larger than life to me and I respected him. He stood for truth - and I was challenged by his stand more than once!
As I sat there with him Monday night; I wanted to tell him how much his life has meant to me. How greatly his walk with God has impacted my life for Christ. I found that my lips could not convey the deep appreciation I have for his sacrifice for the Gospel. I told him how good it was to see him and how great it was to talk with him again; and as I watched him walk slowly away I wondered, "How do you tell a man who forever impacted your life for eternity - 'thank you'?"
I realized it was a thank you that could not be uttered with words or emotions - for there are none that can correctly convey the depth of gratitude to one so dear. This thank you is one that must be shown - a lived out thanks.
Tonight I purposed once again to hold the banner high - to stand for truth and never waver; for there are those who have gone before that - stood. They paid the price - and often stood alone. The banner is being passed on - it is this generation's responsibility to keep the banner where it has been - for the "Cloud of Witnesses" that has gone on before, and soon will be going on ahead deserves our faithfulness to the gospel they held so dear.
"Pastor Nelson, thank you for standing for truth. Thank you for your faithfulness to God. Thank you for being my pastor. You have forever impacted my life for Christ. "To God be the glory, great things He hath done."