“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9: 6 & 7 (KJV)
Isn’t there an old children’s song that starts out “Head and shoulders, knees and toes?” It just sounds familiar. This weekend, I couldn’t get this chorus out of my head. Shortly you may understand why.
Now we’ve been on vacation and I am sure you will be hearing more about that soon! However, from July 30 to August 1, Bob and I attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the church we belonged to in Denver. The church is First Southern Baptist of Northglenn Colorado and is shepherded by Pastor John Talbert. During our residence there, Pastor John was not only our minister but also a dear friend, as he is today.
For this milestone event, the church invited former pastors and former members of the church to be present. The Hispanic, the Korean and the Brazilian churches that use the facilities were also among honored invitees. We had a service Friday night and there were two services on Saturday. Sunday brought the culmination for our time together and for this morning I wanted to share a brief testimony of that service and what has been stuck inside my brain ever since.
For Sunday morning service, we met at a local hotel ballroom because the small church would not have accommodated the large turnout. The former pastor and guest speaker, Benny King, delivered an uplifting message. Then Pastor John Talbert made several recognitions of past members and then invited the pastors of the Hispanic, Korean and Brazilian to come forward, display their country’s flag and give us a brief testimony of their ministry. It was wonderful.
While I enjoyed every minute, I experienced some disappointment because it appeared Pastor John would not be preaching. But it wasn’t too long before we all were sweetly surprised. At the last minute, Pastor John took the podium. He began by showing us a picture of a cheerleading pyramid. That was interesting, not very spiritual, but interesting.
Then he requested that if anyone had been church members in the 60’s (when the church was established) to stand. A handful of lovely people rose to their feet. They smiled, while being recognized, and then reseated themselves. Pastor John asked those members in the 70’s to stand. A noticeably larger group stood. The process was repeated for each decade ending with those who became member from 2000-2010. Each group was larger than the one before.
Let us digress to the cheerleaders and the pyramid. Pastor John pointed out that the church was actually an inverted pyramid with each generation building upon the shoulders of the last generation – a work started on the foundation of Jesus Christ. What an analogy with such truth!
Regardless of how large or small your congregation is, no matter if you experience a lull at some point during your growth, we should be building on the shoulders of those who came before us and then, live a life worthy of the calling of Christ, so as to support those who come behind us.
What does this mean for you and me? Well, I probably don’t have to tell you – but I will. Since you and I are the church – the body of Christ, it means we, individually, have to answer some hard questions.
• Is your foundation the Rock of Ages?
• Will all who come behind you – find you faithful?
• Will you leave them something to light their way and build upon?
• How strong are your shoulders – right now?
Let me encourage you to be Christ-minded, use your shoulders and knees to support Kingdom ministry and let your toes lead your feet down the narrow path. While you are at it, make sure you bring someone with you!
Head and shoulder, knees and toes – we will reap what we sows!