I did a funeral yesterday. I’ve got another one today, and another one on Monday. As I was coming back from yesterday’s funeral my secretary called to tell me there had been another death in the church family; funeral arrangements are pending.
So, I’ve been spending most of my time comforting the grieving, which is some of the best and most important work a minister can do. I once told someone I would rather do a funeral than a wedding because, at a funeral, people really need the hope and comfort a minister can provide while at a wedding you sometimes get the feeling a smiling cardboard cutout and a pre-recorded message would serve as well.
All of this to say I’ve been busy with other things—funerals, counseling, hospital visitation, sermon preparation, new deacon ordination—and haven’t been able to get “out there” as much as I would like. The good news is I’m not alone in all this.
I was in the hallway at church yesterday afternoon, and saw two or three people huddled together in front of the preschool offices. I was invited into the conversation and saw photographs of the blank interior walls of a building on Church Hill and heard talk about murals that might be painted on them and Bible verses to inspire the children who gather there. I was searching my memory for the details. It seemed as if I had talked with someone about this before—before Advent, before Christmas, before doing a funeral every day. But at that moment it didn’t matter so much. I recognized the looks on those faces: these were people who were up to something good in the city, making a difference for children who need to know they are loved.
I walked away with a sense of relief. It’s not all up to me. Members of First Baptist Church are out there bringing heaven to earth every day. That’s what it means to be on a “year-long, every-member mission trip.”
So, relax, Jim. Do what you have to do. Leave the mission up to all those other First Baptist missionaries for a while.
Let them make you proud.