Saturday, February 2, 2008

Taking Stock of Ten Years

This week marks my tenth anniversary as pastor of the church I serve. I guess our people are planning a special dinner for Wednesday night to celebrate the occasion. Hitting this ten year milestone has started me thinking about the passing of time.

Beginning in the ministry at age 19, I was the youngest pastor in the history of the first three churches I served. I mentioned that fact to a deacon friend of mine who said, "Brother Drew, that will be a difficult streak to continue." Elwood was right. I'm no longer the kid preacher. I'm supposed to know what I'm doing by now.

Ten years. A decade of time. It's a pretty good chunk of anyone's lifetime. It is the longest I have ever lived in the same town, in the same house, with the same job.

I remember taking our oldest son, Sam, to his new elementary school on his first day. I remember the boys in his third grade class welcoming him with a big cheer because they already had way too many girls. Now Sam is in college and apparently there are too many girls in college, too. He keeps bringing one home with him. Oh well. At least he has good taste.

Our home only vaguely resembles the house we moved into ten years ago. Seems like everything has either worn out and been replaced or been redecorated to death. And if you look close, you can see little clues that the man of the house is not the world's greatest Mr. Fix-it. But, believe me, he tries.

Yet, for all its imperfections, it's still our home, the only home our youngest kids can even remember. Ten Christmas trees. Ten state fairs (we live just down the street from the fairgrounds). A worn out trampoline in the backyard. Kitchen chairs that need to be re-glued. No more minivan in the garage (we had four in a row). We are down to four and they're going fast.

Ten years. From reading glasses to bifocal contacts, from a pocket Testament to a large print Bible, ten years takes its toll. When the kids come up for the children's time at church, I notice that none of them were born when I came as pastor. When I look in the mirror each morning, I see more salt and less pepper all the time. So, am I feeling old? Yes, I am. Is time flying by far too quickly? Yes, it is.

Think of it. Ten years means more than 500 Sundays, more than 500 sermons! God bless my people, they still show up! And, they still know how to encourage their pastor along the way.

Most of all, I just feel blessed, very blessed indeed. God has called me to take the long walk of faith with a wonderful band of brothers and sisters, to make the journey with those I know and love and trust and believe in. Every pastor should be so lucky.

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