I have several books in my personal library that were given to me over the years. Some of these books belonged to Methodist preachers from days past.
When I open the various books I see the names and signatures of pastors like Rev. R.R. Branton, Rev. Ed Haug, Rev. Lea Joyner, Rev. Ray Branton, Rev. Stone Caraway, Rev. Jimmie Pyles. The books make me think of them. Pastors who I cannot hold a candle to, but who have really inspired me over the years.
I sometimes look at the pictures of the past senior pastors of First United Methodist Church of Lake Charles hanging in our church library. I sometimes look at them and stand in awe. Some were here for only a couple of years. Some were here for five or seven years or longer. One after the other, they have served since 1871. During the Great Depression, during the two world wars, the changes of the 1960's, fires and hurricanes, they continued their service. Each one in his own unique way left an impact on the lives of people.
I sure want to be like them. I really do. I want to be faithful. I want to keep the faith. I want to never give up.
The scripture proclaims, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) I sense their presence all the time. I don’t want to disappoint them. Lord, help me.
I just wonder, who has inspired you over the years? Today, let’s pause for just a minute . . . and give thanks to God for the positive influence of others.