I reflect back on these years and was thinking the other day that you really can't count it in years like you would a regular job. I think it is more appropriate to count the hours. Michael took his watch off that first Sunday. I thought it was to tell the people we weren't on our time but on God's time. We would build when God said build, and preach as long as God wanted and what God wanted; we weren't going by the "model church".
It wasn't a message just for the folks sitting in there listening for the first time. It was also for me. I told once before about how one Sunday it hit me that he was the one who was annointed for this position. He is the one that was serious when he took off that watch. For the last 43,680 hours we have served Jesus in this place. There are no weekends off or vacations without a phone nearby. There aren't supposed to be.
He looks forward to our reunion in Brownwood more than anything every year. A week where he gets up early to fish, takes a nap, then goes fishing again. He loves it. We were scheduled to leave on Monday when early Sunday we get a call that one of our men had gone on to be with the Lord. I reached over to him and asked if he was alright, thinking he might be disappointed his fishing trip would be cut short so he could do the funeral. Out of his mouth comes "Are you getting frisky with me? So early in the morning?"
I didn't hear the disappointment in his voice that I was kinda feeling in my heart for him. I think if he wasn't supposed to be here and didn't feel called by the Lord to be here that I would have heard the disappointment. He takes his responsibility seriously because he is supposed to. If there was any disappointment that morning it was probably that I wasn't getting frisky!
So for 43,680 hours we have loved on people. We have done our best to teach them to love the Word of God. We have watched Jesus draw them to Him because we are lifting Him up. We have watched them walk through the waters of baptism and we sometimes look at each other shaking our heads with the amazement of how Jesus is growing them. And growing us.
We have also been referees. A lot. Been in the middle of men duking it out in the parking lot and the middle of women screaming at each other in the office. We have married them, buried them, and been there when babies are born. We've made middle of the night trips to the emergency room to sit with families when they get news from the doctors. We've had couples sitting on the couch in the office with arms and legs crossed and when we are all done talking we've watched them walk out holding hands. We've also had some that didn't make it and it breaks our hearts.
There is no where else we'd rather be.
Bring on the next 43,680 hours.