Walking into a new surgery waiting room at U.T. Medical Center, I was just a little perplexed. If health care is in such a crisis in our country, why is it that every hospital in our community has been remodeled or expanded in the last ten years? Why have two new hospitals been built? No, health care — at least the hospital side of it — seems to be thriving if new and expanded facilities are any indication.
Sitting in that new waiting room in a newly expanded wing of the hospital, I noticed a woman. In my mind, I said, “That woman looks just like Imogene Hutson.” Imogene is the wife of Jim. He was called to be pastor of First Baptist Church of Rockwood while I was a student at Carson-Newman. While the woman I was looking at in the waiting room looked very much like his wife, I was not convinced that it was her; at least, not convinced enough to approach her and speak to her. She, however, was convinced that I was me and she waved me over to where she was sitting.
We got started catching up. Jim was in surgery. Their daughter, Susan, was doing well. Their son, Steve, was serving a church in Murfreesboro. Then I gave her an update on my mother, my sister, my wife and my boys. We had a reunion of sorts. It was unplanned and unexpected; but in just a few minutes of visiting together, I was reminded of some pleasant days, good memories, and wonderful relationships.
From time to time, it is good, even necessary, for us to be reminded of where we have come from and to whom we are indebted for nurturing us along our journey. The Hutsons are just two of a great number of people who have given encouragement and direction to my life. We do well to remember those who have given themselves to us along the way.
Every person who touches our lives is not necessarily someone that we have known or with whom we have had a personal relationship. Our church covenant represents a way that our lives are touched by a number of people, many of whom we have not known personally. For generations, men and women have sought to live out the commitments they have made to God and to each other as members of Ball Camp Baptist Church. The fruit of their daily effort to keep those promises is seen today in our vibrant community of faith.
Consider these words from our church covenant:
We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines, to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expense of the church, and the relief of the poor and those in need, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We are here today worshipping and serving God in no small part because those who have gone before us took seriously their promise to walk together, to sustain worship, and to spread the gospel to all nations. Most of the time when we think about what we are doing to impact our community and our world for Christ, we think about what we can do right now to make a difference. Yet, our efforts to keep the promise we have made to God and to each other will not merely impact the times in which we live. No, the fruits of our efforts will be realized for generations to come.