December 9, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Don’t Miss the Moment

Brother-Aaron-236x300I was at an Associational Missionaries Conference in Toccoa, Georgia when I heard the Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director, Dr. J. Robert White, tell a very personal story about missing one of life’s moments.

While still serving as a pastor, he left the church office one afternoon headed home. As he walked toward his car he was thinking about the supper his wife would have waiting for him.

As he continued walking toward his car one of his church members, whose husband had just recently come home from the hospital, drove by, blew the horn, threw up her hand, and waived at him.

As he waived back he thought about her husband being sick and how that, due to his illness, it had been several weeks since they had been able to attend church.

He thought: I should go visit with them right now. However, he also thought about how hard his wife worked to prepare his supper and that if he made the visit his it would get cold.

As most of would, he made the decision to go on home and eat. As soon as he finished his meal – the phone rang. He was informed that the gentlemen had just died very unexpectedly. As he continued, his voice broke.

After a long pause, and with tears streaming, he looked into the eyes of that group of Associational Missionaries and said, “Gentlemen, I missed the moment!”

As he told his story, my mind raced back to my first pastorate. Her name was Mrs. Cotton. She was a seventy to eighty-year-old widow who lived with her son in the church community. She wasn’t a member of my church. In fact, I met her as part of our weekly visitation program. Health reasons prevented her from attending church. But that didn’t prevent us from forming a fast friendship.

I soon discovered that she was a delightful Christian lady, with an extremely sharp mind, who was just trapped in an old person’s body. For some reason she latched onto this young preacher boy and began to love me, encourage me, and pray for me. She adopted me as “her preacher.”

And you guessed it. It wasn’t long until I found myself going out of my way to insure that I visited with her each week. A visit with her always put me on top of the world!  Imagine that, an eighty-year-old woman and a twenty-four-year-old preacher boy, best of buds!

She checked in the hospital for surgery. I had prayer with her that morning before she went into the operating room. I told her I would see her when she came back. This particular hospital was small. Consequently, the intensive care unit doubled as the recovery room. When her surgery was complete a nurse came into the waiting room to get me. She told me that my friend had made it through the surgery just fine, was awake, and was calling for me. She had something she wanted to tell me.

As the nurse and I walked toward the recovery room another nurse met us at the door and told me I would have to wait. They were having an emergency with another patient. In the time it took them to deal with this other patient, my friend aspirated – and died. As long as I live I will never forget the feeling I had when they told me my friend had died. I will never know what she wanted to tell me. I missed the moment!

In life, there will come times that all of us – miss the moment. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with “do overs.” But as Robert Frost said, “Life can be described in three words: It goes on.” We cannot “un-miss” the moments we’ve missed. However, we can make sure we don’t miss another. I encourage you today – don’t miss the moments of your life!

Brother Aaron

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