01 April, 2012

It's A Different Crowd Today

I have a church member who will soon be 91 years old. She is physically unable to come to church any longer, but she is still sharp as a tack mentally and does well enough that she still lives in her own home. (A side note... I am absolutely in awe of the fact that this woman has lived in this same house since she was 2 years old. Can you imagine spending 89 years living in the same house? I cannot fathom it!) It's sad that she cannot get out to come to church any more. She loves the Lord so much, and she loves talking about her years working with young people in the church and in the Church of God youth camps. Ironically, I met Marty in these youth camps, back when I was only about 12 years old, so I have known this woman for more than 40 years. She used to take us kids on a 5 mile hike during the camps. She was also a counselor to literally hundreds of kids over the years that she worked these camps. I was with her not too long ago when the reality hit me that when I met her, she was already about the age I am today! This woman was in her 50's, working the camps and taking us on hikes! Most of us have quit working camps LONG before we get to that age... but not Marty... this was a passion of hers. They don't make many like her any more.

This past week, I was over visiting with Marty, and she was telling her stories of camps and church and so on. I've heard all these stories many times, as I've been her pastor now for almost 8 years and she forgets what she's told me... and that's ok with me. Anyway, she was telling some of these stories and how much she misses church... and she said, "Pastor, that was my life! All I wanted to do was serve God!"  She sent me in to get one of her Bibles, and it saddened me to see that she is getting so weak that she could barely lift this big Bible. She opened the cover and began to pull papers out to show me. Again, I've seen them before... but this is important to her, so I let her show them to me. She had the paper clippings of a newspaper article about me from a couple of years ago, and another when I came as pastor. She had pictures of her and some other folks who used to go into the prison every Sunday morning to teach and sing with the inmates. Then she pulled a stack of certificates that she'd received for completing certified training in various aspects of the church ministry. I did not count them, but I'm guessing that there were at least 40 of them. Think on this... each on of those certificates represented several weeks of going to classes and taking tests to learn the teachings of the church, the methods of ministry, witnessing, and various other subjects. I took the certificates and began to look at them... the first one was completed the year that I was born! From 1959 through the 80's this woman dedicated her time and energy to the study and work to pass all of these classes. I sat there looking at them all, and tears welled up in my eyes and I thought, "Lord, what I would give to have a dozen or so people like Marty Morrison who would dedicate their time and energy to this kind of study that they might be effective for your Kingdom today!"  The fact is, very few are interested in coming to Church regularly, and far fewer to studying the Word of God together, and even less to studying how to be used in service to the Lord. The church is different today. It's all about entertaining folks and keeping their kids happy... but no one is interested in giving their time and energy to ministering to those kids the way people like Marty Morrison did.  It's a different crowd today. Everyone wants to be loose and free to roam and do what ever they want... and very few will commit themselves to becoming a disciple of Christ.

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