I’ve been at my current church a few years now. I used to be a Deacon at another church. That either reflected sterling attributes on my part or bad judgement on the Pastor’s part. I’m inclined to think it was the latter most days.
Today I walked in to my church and headed for my assigned seat. No, we don’t have them, but I like my perch in the back on the left. It’s where I’m comfortable. As I walked into the sanctuary a woman turned to see who was approaching and her eyes got big. She said, “Is your name Joe? Did you used to go to CHURCH X?”
Immediately my inner Scooby Doo said, “Ruh-roh.” I’m sure I’ve met this person and slighted them, or I’m about to be blamed for something I didn’t do and it’s mistaken identity. (There was another deacon named Joe at the church. All Joe’s look alike, etc.)
“Yes, I did go there.”
“I thought so. You were a Deacon. I remember you because you gave me my first Bible.”
Wow. Of all the things I’ve ever done in my life, that has to be on the gooder than good list. I loved giving Bibles out. I think it made the Pastor a little nuts, because I’d buy a couple of cases of Bibles and stock the pews and hand them out to people who didn’t have one. I considered it part of my tithe and deducted it from my taxes as I gave the Bibles to the church.
The point, lest I wander too far, is that I thought it was a great thing to do then, and I still think it is today. I have bought hundreds of Bibles over the last decade. I hand them out to people, put them in care packages, have a few in the car, and donate them when I can. It’s a beautiful thing for me to spread the word on a very personal level. And, as today revealed, it left an impression on one young woman.
She looked great. All dressed for church, her male companion dressed nicely as well. I don’t remember her from that time, but the fact that it was her first scripture and she’s still going to church made me feel good. I’d won a round. Yeah!
We all have contact with strangers in any position of leadership in our churches. I was the guy who greeted you at the door, welcomed you to the church, made sure you had a Bible before you left. (I also mopped, shoveled snow, cleaned out the storage room, rebuilt the computers,scrubbed pots…) I saw a lot of faces just one time. But more saw me and weighed the experience on how good a representative I was for Jesus during that encounter.
Today I can hold my head high. I done good at least once.