It was an emotional baptism. The stories of transformation were powerful. I left the baptism celebration with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. The realization that this was our 8th baptism celebration in our short 3.5 year history as a church reminded me that it is truly the work of God to take a person from darkness into His marvelous light. God helped me to remember that everything that I do as a pastor is worth it because of these moments. I have the privilege of being a part of people’s lives, whether directly or indirectly, and witnessing first-hand what the Gospel can do to a person’s life once they understand the grace and the love of God.
I wouldn’t trade this for the world. There is nothing that can be more fulfilling or satisfying on this side of eternity.
This baptism celebration was extra special because I had the honor of baptizing a father who started to come out to our church because of his son, who attended our single-adult ministry. As he shared his testimony, it moved the hearts of everyone in the room. I think when we come to know the Lord later in life, there is a greater understanding and weightiness to the power of the Gospel.
There were two things that struck me the most from his testimony. The first thing was his humility and his awareness of his own fragility. I am more convinced that as we get older we are more aware of our sinfulness and we gain a greater perspective on things. Life, with all its up’s and down’s, has a way of bringing things into greater focus. The older we get, the more pain, sorrow, and loss we experience. He touched upon all of this in his testimony. The second thing that stuck out for me is when he said, “I wish I could have known Christ earlier, but IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.”
The last phrase hit something in my heart.
It brought me way back to the late ’90s when our church back in Ann Arbor sent a missions project team to Peru. We were serving in an orphanage located in a very mountainous and remote area. We met an incredible lady who was in her 60’s. She loved the kids and had such a beautiful heart. As we were leaving she stopped the bus because she wanted to say her last goodbyes and give us another word of encouragement. She said, “When I see so many of you young people loving and serving Jesus, it makes me wish I knew Christ earlier (she came to know Christ in her 40’s). But I am thankful that Christ saved me and it’s never too late.”
For some reason, those words, “It’s never too late,” just struck me because she gave us some much-needed perspective. She was reminding us that since we came to know Christ at a younger age, we will have a longer time to serve and love God. I think it is easy for many young people to take things for granted, especially their salvation.
This is the reason why I was so moved at the baptism testimony by this father. Not only did it remind me of my experience in Peru, but it triggered a sense of hope. There are many members in our church who have parents that are not believers, yet. Therefore, hearing a testimony by this father stirred people’s heart to pray and have faith that God can transform anyone. Whether God will work now or in 10 years, all we can do is to pray and trust that God’s will will be done.
I am more convinced than ever before that God can transform anyone, regardless of background or even age. God has transformed many people in the past and He will continue to do so today. It is just humbling that I get a front row seat and get to witness all this. To God be all the glory!