On a Personal Note…

This past Sunday I had an odd experience. It all began when I awakened and realized that I had no recollection, no idea really, of what I was teaching that day. Oh I had set it all up the previous Monday, and I did remember that it was easy… but I couldn’t even remember my text. It was a little disconcerting to be honest…

Of course I knew it was something about spiritual gifts; I should remember that after being here 3 weeks, but which text was it? I also knew that I had it saved on the computer, that it was all printed out in a huge font that I can more or less read and sitting on the table in the church office… but what text was it again…?

No clue.

I fired up the computer and opened the file… OK, I did 1 Corinthians and Romans already, so this is either Ephesians or 1 Peter; it started to come back… 1 Peter is only 2 verses, so this must be Ephesians, but it didn’t look familiar. I read it; nothing. I read it again; nothing again. Then I read it the third time and poof… oh yeah, I remember now: easy!

I was relieved.

A couple of hours later, I was ready to get up there and get started, and a young lady named Ashley was “doing the prayer” and she began with a string of words I’ve never heard before: “Father, we thank you for Don Merritt…” I have no idea what came next, because those words hit me like a truckload of bricks. My initial thought was something like “Huh? What? I didn’t do anything… what are you talking about?” My second thought was along the lines of “Oh **** teaching the Word of God is an awesome responsibility! I’d better get this right…”

No pressure…

It isn’t that I’ve never thought of the responsibility before; I have for sure and I get it. Yet in that moment Ashley’s words took me off guard and I had the sensation of my life passing in front of my eyes: Who am I to have such a responsibility, such an opportunity? I’m nobody! It was humbling to be sure.

I normally approach teaching the Word of God, whether in a blog or in person, from a missional point of view: God saved me out of death, literally as it happens, gave me a spiritual gift and called me to service; simple. Now, let’s get to work…and the biggest part of my job is to show up on time and to get out of His way. The other side of this, the one that Ashley put into a word string almost never occurs to me, probably because I am so clear on how little of this has anything to do with me; I’m really not that good. Last Sunday, I couldn’t even remember what I was supposed to talk about when I got up. See what I mean? “Don” is of no consequence; the Word is all that matters, building up the Body of Christ is what matters, making disciples who make disciples is what matters.

And yet… there are those relationships that we form along the way; they begin with a higher purpose to make disciples, and then they grow into something else, something called “community” or “family.”

I want to thank Ashley for blowing my mind last Sunday, because I think that caused me to see something more fully than before: The “fullness” of Christ resides in the community of believers and that is not merely a concept or a doctrine, nor is it an “ideal”. No, it is a real and present reality… even I can see that now, and I am notoriously slow about these kinds of things.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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14 Responses to On a Personal Note…

  1. Bette Cox says:

    Holy Spirit is my handy reminder when I forget something, like words, appointments, names of people I’ve known for years… thank God for God! I really like “… the biggest part of my job is to show up on time and to get out of His way.” Amen, amen.

  2. pipermac5 says:

    It is very difficult for those of us who have a very strong sense that we are “unworthy-vessels” to accept that others have reasons to be thankful for our contributions to God’s kingdom, but it should come as no surprise. The Apostle Paul, who called himself “the least of the Apostles”, was frequently thankful for the contributions of others who shared in the ministry. Were they taken back by his sometimes profuse and public thanks? They may have been, but they deserved it nonetheless.

    I don’t take “Likes” on my blog posts lightly, because they mean that something I have written has struck a chord in their hearts, and hopefully enriched their lives. Those are the “little” things that compel us to keep up our work and hopefully touch even more hearts.

    Keep up the good work Brother Don! Yes, I am also thankful for your contributions to the kingdom of God.

    God bless!

    Steve

  3. Thanks for sharing your befuddlement. On my own personal note, I’ve also had those experiences. What they’ve told me is that I might be trying to do too much too quickly all at once. and I need to slow my pace..

    When I think of you, Don, I think of a guy with a mind filled with wonderful new revelations and ideas and new directions. You also have the incredible capacity to pull them off,. I personally can’t keep up with our voluminous output,–writing more posts and other stuff than anyone I know this side of Karl Barth.

    I might be wrong in this, and if I am forgive me. But it doesn’t surprise me that sometimes a duck to two gets out of your many rows.

    With genuine love,

    Wade

    • Don Merritt says:

      I don’t know about you Wade, but I get irritated when those ducks don’t stay where they’re supposed to be! 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement, it is heartily appreciated!

  4. lovessiamese says:

    Though I don’t get to visit your blog now as often as before due to just having to sort through so many, I am truly thankful for your blog, your insight, your willlingness to let God use you. Almost every morning, upon waking, I thank God for being such a great God, and for sharing His love, grace, mercy, compassion, and righteousness with me. Our great, expanded family in Christ is the most precious blessing after salvation. God bless you, brother, and keep on being available for our Master’s service.

  5. To me, the most awesome thing in the world– is when you stand before the crowd and you start out with what you planned to say . . .and you go with your notes— and the suddenly the anointing hits and you start speaking words–and thoughts–that you did not even knew that you knew. What an AWESOME GOD WE SERVE!

  6. paulfg says:

    “And yet… there are those relationships that we form along the way; they begin with a higher purpose to make disciples, and then they grow into something else, something called “community” or “family.”

    I want to thank Ashley for blowing my mind last Sunday, because I think that caused me to see something more fully than before: The “fullness” of Christ resides in the community of believers and that is not merely a concept or a doctrine, nor is it an “ideal”. No, it is a real and present reality… even I can see that now, and I am notoriously slow about these kinds of things.”

    Wow!

  7. vw1212 says:

    Bang on with the concept. After you have done all you can you have just done what you ought to have done. Humbling. vw

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