Norma Jean and I are on the way to a Gospel Meeting in Chillicothe, Ohio, but paused to spend some special time with dear friends, Dave and Nancy Wyckoff in Hillsboro.
The church in Hillsboro was my first “full time’ work as a 22 year old kid, fresh out of college. Brash. Naive. Inexperienced. And idealistic.
The brethren were patient with me and gave me an opportunity to learn, grow and develop some ministry skills. Wednesday night we returned to visit the brethren.
They are worshiping in a different building. And many of the faces were new to us. But it was good to see some old friends from 40 years ago. Kenny and Wanda Brown. Bobbie Kimberly. The Gillilands. The Blairs. Bill Pierce and his wife Mary Lou. Bonnie Hawk, who was Kenny’s first baby sitter, and her husband Mike. And the Wyckoff’s son, Jason, and his family.
These two days have been filled with funny stories. Good-natured banter. Sharing heart-warming memories. Eating. Visiting old friends. Exchanging pictures of our grandchildren. Seeing how the town had changed. Enjoying the beautiful rolling countryside. And a lot of laughter.
As we are on the verge of moving to a new and exciting chapter in our lives 46 years later, it was good to return to where we begin our ministry, reminisce on the past, reflect on our lives, and ruminate about the future.
Three thoughts, emotions and observations continued coming to the surface.
(1) It’s all about the people! Where you eat. Where you live. The house you have. The car you drive. All of that is really secondary to the relationships we develop over the years. The affection of our friendship. The warmth of our fellowship. The fondness and affinity we feel for each other is special. And it is in the Lord. God loves people. And so should we. We miss out when church becomes sterile. Just another meeting to attend. One more thing on our to do list. An obligation that becomes a burden. NO! It’s all about the people. Don’t miss out on the relationships.
(2) You really can be friends forever! It’s so neat to just pick up where you left off with people you haven’t seen in several years. It’s a special blessing. And I think it is uniquely accentuated when the bond is spiritual. When it is rooted in the fidelity and commonality of our faith. What a wonderful blessing it is to call people and say, “Are you going to be home? We want to come spend a couple days at your home. Oh, and can you pick up us at the airport?” And they say, “Come on!” For people to drop what they are doing and share a bit of their time.
(3) It’s important to invest time in building good memories. Too much time today is wasted on trivial matters. Too much energy is squandered on real or perceived slights and hurts. Too much work is expended on the carnal. The material. The physical. Things will one day be burned up. But what will last is you. And me. We will go together into eternity. So what a wonderful thing it is to focus on good and godly things and build precious memories. I’m sure glad we can return to Hillsboro and enjoy the relationships we’ve built, swap stories from the past, and just share some good times.
I wish the same blessing for each of you. Invest time, effort and energy in those enduring relationships that will reap spiritual dividends both in time and eternity. As we leave Kansas City and head to Lewisville, Texas, to make new friends and build new memories, I join with the apostle who said, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacher