May 16, 2021

Pastoral Nuggets: You are a part of their story

The first part of this column is from an end of the school year article I wrote to the teachers and staff at Berta Weathersbee Elementary School in LaGrange, Georgia. (Berta is the Troup Baptist Association’s Partner in Education.)

“‘Don’t let people who don’t know your story stop you from going after what you know God has promised.’ – Desperate Prayers for Desperate Times, John Eckhardt.

When I read the quote above, I thought about a gentleman I used to work with almost forty years ago.

Every once in a while, he would look at me and say, ‘Rev. You don’t know me. All you know is my name.  And you’re just taking my word for that!’

Do you know what he was telling me? He was telling me that I didn’t know his personal story.  And guess what? He was right. I didn’t! All I knew about him was his name. And yes, I was just taking his word for that!

Today, a bunch of little children will walk out of your classroom for the final time for this school year.

The reality is, you don’t know their story. How can I say that? Because their story is still being written. It’s still a work in process.

However, I do know this, whatever the finished product of their life story looks like, you are now an integral part of it!  The 2018-19 school year, good or bad, is now a part of history. What you have poured into those precious little lives, and what they have poured into you, has now become inseparably woven into the fabric of the same story. They have a story; you have a story, and together you share a story.

So, teacher, administrator, staff member, or whoever you are and whatever part you play in the story of our Berta Babies, I remind you that for such a time as this, God has placed you where you are.

He has called you to the task. You’re making a difference. So, ‘Don’t let people who don’t know your story stop you from going after what you know God has promised.’ To you, my heroes, I say a very heartfelt thank you!”

While the portion of this column written above was directed to the teachers and staff of Berta Weathersbee Elementary School, its message is applicable to all of us.

As we do this thing called life together, while I have a story, and you have a story, somehow our stories become inseparably woven together and we create a new story.

And as we create our new story, we reach certain milestones where what we are experiencing, doing, or creating together, becomes a part of history. Good or bad, hot or cold, right or wrong, it simply becomes our story.

This time of year, when kindergartens, grammar schools, high schools, and colleges are having their graduation ceremonies, we tend to become very nostalgic. We can’t help but think about a deceased parent, grandparent, or a beloved family member that we wish could share the big day with us.

We think about the people who have poured themselves into us every step of the way – those who picked us up when we fell, encouraged us when we needed encouragement, and who believed in us.

We think of the sacrifices made by others so we could achieve our goals. And strangely, our eyes begin to leak as we remember. But here’s the good part of our story. No matter who they are, if we love them and they love us, regardless of how our lives intersected, we are a part of their story and they are a part of ours. And this truth transcends life and death!

In 1973, as I was preparing to walk across the stage and graduate high school, one of the adults said, “Take a long look at the people around you.  You will never see some of them again after tonight.” I though they were crazy. They weren’t!

I haven’t seen some of them since that night. Some of them have died, and I lost track of some a long time ago.

But as long as I live, they will never really die. You see, their story is a part of my story! And so it is with all those we have a true encounter with in life – our lives become inseparably woven into the fabric of the same story. Come to think of it, that’s the way it is with Jesus!

Brother Aaron

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