Thirty Years, Long but Short

Thirty Years, Long but Short


Life is certainly short, even at is longest.  James 4:14 says, "For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” In Psalm 90:10, we read, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”  So we see, that life, even at is longest, is so short.  These 30 years, for me and my family, here, with this congregation have flown by.  The work that has been accomplished here is due to the hard work of all, not just me.  As Abraham said to his nephew Lot, "for we be brethren.” (Genesis 13:8)  It takes all of us working together to the glory of God, to get things done. 


As the song "God’s Family” says, "there are times we have laughed together, and times when we have cried together.”  I was honored when asked to assist with the funerals of many of your loved ones.  Truly as the song says "there were times when we cried together.”  I was honored when asked to do the wedding ceremonies for some of you, and those were some of the times when we laughed together. (Lynn’s wedding cake)  Yet, I was greatly honored when asked to baptize many of you.  Now, at times, it was a struggle, on my part to make sure you were completely immersed, especially if you were afraid of the water.  But, yet, you and I knew the only way we can get into Christ is to be baptized.  Galatians 3:27 says, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  There have been a lot of good memories over these 30 years.


I do hope that, in some small way, we have grown together in Spirit and in the truth of God’s word.  2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  2 Peter 3:18 says, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever.”  I love teaching the Bible.  I guess teaching is part of my blood since that is where I was formally trained and having taught in the public schools of Alabama for forty (40) years.  I thoroughly enjoyed going to Russia and Panama and be able to teach to those who have never heard of Christ and His love for us.  I may have gone in body, but, you sent me, and I knew you were with me in spirit.  Matthew 28:19-20 says, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”  Mark 16:15-16 says, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  We were simply complying with the Lord’s command.  As a result, I feel much good has come from those efforts.  God has always blessed this church, and it is my prayer that He will continue to do so.  Guard against false doctrine and liberalism.  1 John 4:1 says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  Matthew 7:15 says, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”


Remember to forgive others when they wrong you, whether they ask for your forgiveness or not.  God would not have us be vindictive toward others.  Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:  but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  In Romans 12:19, it says, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”


It is my prayer that love will always abound in this congregation as it does presently.  1 Peter 2:17 says, "Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”  Jesus said in John 15:12, "This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”  You see, love is the foundation upon which our faith is built.  1 Corinthians 13:13 says, "And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”


Thirty years is nothing when compared to eternity.  It is still my responsibility to encourage you to be obedient to God, whether I am the minister or not.  Do you love God today?  Do you love Him enough to be obedient to His word?  Do you love Him enough to live a Christian life and looking forward to the crown of life?  The choice is yours!
Antioch church of Christ