Devotional: September 13th
My home congregation, the Jeffersonville (OH) Church of Christ, celebrated her fiftieth anniversary with a rather grand to do this past weekend. I was the first Timothy from my home church. I was the first person sent into the fields that are white unto the harvest by this group of people who were working their neighborhood field. I got to share my God given talent with them which I had already done while with them. I had sung a number of times for different services and had preached on several weekends and even held a revival once.
"A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house." Matthew 13:57 Jesus was not welcome in His home town as a great man of renown. They wanted the scrappy kid from the carpenter shop. They were not ready to believe this fellow who came back with an entourage of workers who shared in His ministry. They wanted the predictable. What they got was some teaching and not much more as a result of their unbelief. That's because Jesus left before they got to know the man of God. His town did not sanction Him, set Him apart, ordain Him. He took that from His Father in heaven.
I was not without a certain measure of honor. What thrilled me was the fact that many of the former preachers returned for the weekend. Paul Wiener, the very first minister they ever had, was there with his wife Alice and spoke Saturday afternoon. Cliff Beck, Barton Howard, Conrad Bower and Richard Crabtree, all former ministers, also shared with the congregation that afternoon and evening. Eldon and Barbara Howard, former members, led the worship sessions Saturday and Sunday with their usual enthusiasm.
Bobby and Marlene Creamer, good friends of mine since my childhood days at Jeff, did their "Henry and Sweetie" routine Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Former minister, Bill Umstetter, spoke Sunday morning for the early part of the worship and I got to share from the Word in the late morning portion. Bobby Creamer and Ken Harrah spoke for afternoon festivities. There was a lot of great singing and reminiscing both Saturday and Sunday as current and former members shared from their hearts with comments and songs.
A common thread went through these sessions. Be proud of what you've done in the Lord. Be thankful for His blessings through the years. Be mindful of those things that have happened which caused problems for they have taught you to lean on God. Be resolute in your dedication for the coming challenges. When I left for college my home church numbered 180 strong in a community of about 700. I returned 37 years later to a congregation of about 30 in a town of 3,000. They went from 25 % of the town to 1 % of the town. Essentially, they are starting over, but with the blessing of knowing things they didn't know fifty years ago. That's God's blessing. Starting over.
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