17 years ago, we said goodbye. My husband and I packed our belongings, hugged a lot of necks, and waved goodbye to the very first church congregation we ever served: Ebenezer Baptist Church in Hammond, Louisiana. My hubby had been the Minister of Music and Youth, and we made memories with every member of that small church. Some of the best, though, were with a few students (and their families) who latched onto our hearts.
Thinking back over our time at Ebenezer, flashbacks of specific moments fill my mind.
Sunday lunch at the Johnson’s house, followed by a game of horseshoes.
Students (who shall remain nameless) spilling candle wax in my den and trying (unsuccessfully) to hide the evidence.
Praying with friends as they asked Jesus to be their Leader and Forgiver.
Sneaking into a back room of the church to catch some shut-eye during a student lock-in. Apparently, even at the young age of 25 I still couldn’t pull an all-nighter.
We learned a lot about ministry, people, leadership, and God in that little church, and I’m so thankful for those lessons. And for those memories. And for those people.
This past weekend, those memories came to life as a few of those students made the long drive from Louisiana to Georgia. We lingered with them over pancakes and old times at Cracker Barrel Saturday morning. I listened as these young men shared about their wives and children….about their involvement in their church….about their strong faith. My heart was full as they thanked us for our ministry in their lives and explained the impact we had on them as young kids. I’m so very proud of those guys. What a privilege to see who they have become. To see what God has done in their lives. To see how God is using them. To hear of their dedication to God and His church.
Sitting across from them at breakfast, God reminded me that what I do matters.
Every day matters.
Every person matters.
Every season matters.
Every opportunity to serve matters.
Why? Because someone is watching. Someone is listening. Someone is being impacted by our actions.
God never promised that we would get to see the fruit of our labor, but Saturday morning I saw fruit. And today, I’m offering praise and thanks to God for allowing me to see it because it reminded me that investing into other people with the love of Jesus has eternal ramifications.
Let me challenge you: build relationships with people and teach them about God. Share His love. Say yes to opportunities to invite people into your home and heart. Be willing to serve. Be willing to lead.
It matters. To God….and to them.