I had an odd experience this evening. I was at church after a youth event and the church phone rang. I never answer the church phone, and in fact, I avoid it like the plague if possible. You never know what you might be asked to do if you answer that phone, so as a general rule I stay away from it. Unfortunately this evening, there wasn’t anyone else around to answer so rather than listen to the painfull ringing of an unanswered phone, I picked it up.
On the other end of the phone was an elderly woman, I could tell by the shaky voice. She asked me if there was a minister around for her to speak with. Being a llittle pre-occupied and not really wanting to hold a conversation, I told her that we, in fact, did not currently have a minister and that we had just begun a minister search, which is true, in part. You see it’s quite funny that I responded that way because I’ve been struggling to get our congregation to see me as a minister of our church. I am the part-time youth minister, but I feel I get left out quite a bit when it comes to church publications and the like, so when she asked that I should probably have said yes, I am a minister of the church, but I didn’t. Oh, the hilarity of it all. Anyway, on with the rest of the story.
After hearing that we didn’t have a minister she asked who I was and so I was trapped, I had to tell her. So, I told her that I work with the youth. I know, what a cop-out. Anyway, she didn’t seem too interested in talking to me, but I asked her if there was something I could do for her and to my surprise she opened up.
Over the next several minutes she proceeded to tell me that she needed to be re-baptised because she had fallen away from the church and done some pretty rotten things. I tried to encourage her, to the best of my abilities, and told her that I didn’t think re-baptism was necessary and that she just needed to ask God for forgiveness. I went on and said that we are all imperfect and sin, and if we were to need baptism each and every time we sinned, we would have to do so each and every day. I told her that she needs to have faith that God will forgive her and if she does He will in turn do so. After all that, I told her that if she still felt that re-baptism was necessary that we would be happy to help her and took down her number for the church office to contact her this week.
I hope my phone friend feels forgiven after seeking the Lord’s forgiveness. I know it’s hard too feel like you’re forgiven when you don’t think you even deserve it, but that’s how much God loved us. He loved us enough to send his son to die on a cross and raise again that we might be forgiven for our rotten lives.
It’s funny how God works. Here I am, a part-time minister seeking to be thought of as a minister, and yet when ministerial work knocks on my door I almost ran away. I’m glad she called. I just hope our conversation helped her, as much as it helped me.