Robin looked at me last night and smiled, “God has given you a gift.”
She is absolutely right. We all say nice things at funerals but most of us never take the time to contact that person who impacted us so much to let them know it was worth it. My inbox passed 500 this morning. Normally, we never make the time to say what we want to say until it’s too late.
It’s like Jesus is holding me and whispering, “Shhhh … I want to give you something.” The following are excepts from an email I got yesterday that made me cry. It was from a student I had in my first ministry position.
While I can only assume that you’re being flooded with messages and well wishes right now, and that you’ve probably got a million other things to do than to read my message, I so deeply wanted to write one anyway.
I know our paths only crossed somewhat briefly in life- a year or two- but I really want you to know what a difference you have made in my life:
When I stumbled upon the old youth group at your church, I was a broken, and confused kid. Broken family. … But, then I moved to Biddeford, and a friend at school named Hannah invited me to your youth group. And, it was there, listening to you week after week, that life changed for me.
Jesus became real.
Jesus became close.
Jesus became the fulfillment of needs.
Jesus became my comfort.
Jesus became permanent.
I’ve sucked at keeping in touch with some of the people who made the biggest difference in my life, but I need you to know Scott: you’re on my list. Jesus is real to me today, because of you.
In fact, I can only imagine where I’d be now, if Hannah had never invited me to come to your youth group some 17 or so years ago.
But, Jesus continued to work in my life, long after our paths took different directions. I was away in the military for 10 years … I used my GI bill to go to seminary, and this Saturday, I’m graduating from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary with my Master of Theology. I have plans to go on to a Doctor of Missiology at Fuller in a few years…
Right now, I’m (pastor of a small church) but we can only afford to open in the summer. I continue to do other cool ministry stuff– like starting a nonprofit last year to help Dalit women in India, I just adopted two girls from Peru a few months ago, and in November I’ll be going to India to shoot a photo documentary on Human Trafficking and to help set up some safe houses for kids rescued out of forced prostitution. In the next few years I’d like to plant a church here in New England that would be appealing to the Emergent/Postmodern community.
So much more I could say, but what I really wanted to say is this: you made an impact. A big impact. I honestly don’t think that today I’d be serving God and passionate about reaching hurting people, if you hadn’t first reached THIS hurting person.
All I can say is thank you, and that I deeply admire you.
That’s just one email of so many I have been reading one-by-one about how many people have truly been won-by-ONE through opportunities God has given me. It’s not because I am special, gifted or anything more than a heap of dirty rags in comparison to my God. It’s just the result of my limping along following Jesus and inviting people along on the journey with me.
I don’t like attention. I don’t want to be “Super Pastor Man” or be lifted up. I want to lift up Jesus and just tell people of my rescue and Hope. I want to share the messy spirituality of walking with Jesus.
We are all ministers, one-to-another. Liver disease is not who I am. I am an adopted child of the Creator of all things. That is who I am – just another Jesus follower.
Thank you so much for ministering to me, everyone. I can’t bring water out of a dry rock and claim I had anything to do with it. All I can do is point you to the well where I found the Living Water that has quenched my thirst forever. Jesus says, “I know you are dry. Come. Drink deep.”
John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”