by: Winterville Baptist
My Last Newsletter Article, or Retiring into God
My first newsletter article for WBC appeared in the December 2004 edition and was written prior to our moving to Winterville.After presenting a challenge to us all to focus first on Jesus during the Christmas season, I shared the following personal note.
I will begin my ministry as your pastor on Monday, January 3 .My first Sunday in the pulpit will be January 9.We plan to move to Winterville on or around December 17.We have a contract on a house on Blackhorse Lane in Cedar Ridge subdivision, and our house in Madison Heights [Virginia] is under contract, with the closing scheduled for November 30.At the time of my writing (November 15), Mary is still seeking an administrative position in the school system.
Mary and I appreciate your many good wishes and your prayers.We have sensed the power of your prayers for us.We are looking forward to celebrating our first Christmas and New Years in Winterville and to becoming a part of God’s family at Winterville Baptist.
Wow! It’s been almost fourteen years since I wrote those words!That’s hard to believe.And in many ways it’s hard for me to believe I am retiring – that I will no longer, after our worship service on August 26th, be doing each day, week, month, and year what I have been doing for forty years.(I was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel by my home church on December 17, 1978.)
I have heard folks through the years say regarding retirement that you will know when it’s time.And I have discovered they are right.For me it’s time.
Like all major milestones in life, taking this next step of retiring involves some anxiety and concerns mixed in with the anticipation, joy, relief, and hope.Since I was eighteen I have been seeking to follow Jesus in doing God’s will.One thing I have learned and know: I can trust God fully. He is perfectly and completely faithful.
Prior to our moving to Winterville, we sold our house in Virginia the first month we put it on the market.Mary was offered three teaching positions in area school systems prior to our moving but she held out for an administrative position.The first week after we moved here, she took a job as assistant principal at Farmville Central High School.She is now finishing her education career working in a position, Director of Secondary Education for Pitt County Schools, she appreciates very much.
Since taking up God’s call to serve in Christian ministry in 1978, I have been employed as a pastor every single day and been treated by each congregation better than I deserve.Yes, there are some petty, hypocritical and even mean people in churches.But there are also God’s genuine, humble saints, who as C. S. Lewis once said, I am not worthy to shine their shoes.
Despite my many weaknesses and sins, God in his grace has been with me and worked through me to bless others.In addition Mary and I are blessed with three wonderful children and their spouses who are all followers of Jesus and involved in church.And we have ten amazing, bright, beautiful, marvelous, interesting… (Did I say amazing?) grandchildren. I could go on and on naming the blessings…
Thank you for being a wonderful part of our journey.I ask one thing of you.Please pray that I will know and follow God’s guidance and will for this last and ending phase of my life.With God’s help I have avoided burning out.I do not want to retire and rust out.I want to last out and flame out.For genuine Christians there is no retiring from God, only retiring into God.
Mary and I will continue to live in the Greenville area for the next couple of years as Mary completes her work with Pitt County Schools and we prepare to sell our house.Our plans now are to build our retirement home on a lakefront lot we purchased in Caroline County, Virginia north of Richmond, which is about one hour away from our daughter Beth in Fairfax.
Some of you have asked us if we will continue to worship and fellowship in WBC as members.We are still deciding about this and will make our decision based upon what is best for God’s kingdom, WBC and us.
It is our hope that as our Lord has richly blessed us through you during these last thirteen years together that He will generously bless you as you go forward into the wonderful future He has for you.
Grace and peace,