In August, our 13-year-old grandson, Jefferson, chose to be baptized (photo above). This followed a time of reflection on his part while he was at a summer Christian camp with his church youth group. He made a re-commitment during the camp and later realized he hadn’t taken the important step of publicly declaring his faith through baptism. Baptism was his choice, his idea.
My wife and I were there as he took this significant step of following Jesus. It was a very emotional and meaningful time. It was emotional as our son, Brady, and his wife, Holly, were the ones to baptize Jefferson. Other family members attended as well, and we celebrated with a meal afterwards.
We’ve also experienced the saving faith and baptisms of several of our other 12 grandchildren. It’s one of the most fulfilling experiences. Realizing that those who are closest to us have chosen to follow the Jesus I love and serve warms my heart like few things can. What can be more important than this? Eternity is factored in. Life here on earth, serving and following Jesus is factored in. Hell is factored out. (Is that a correct phrase? I don’t know, but I like it.)
Many of us have the express joy of watching our children and grandchildren grow in their faith and determine to be a Jesus-follower. But many of us also have close family members who have chosen differently. That rejection of Jesus hurts beyond measure. Knowing that a loved one is headed for an eternity apart from God? The pain of that runs deep. And it should probably run even deeper than it does. I wonder, have I done enough to present the gospel? I wonder what I still can or should do to represent Jesus to them before it is too late.
As the USMB national director, I receive a lot of grief and anger from people who are unhappy with something or someone. Yes, sometimes that someone is me. I see it as part of my job in serving Jesus to absorb those “communications.” I also talk with a lot of pastors about the same kind of communications that they too receive from time to time. Sometimes these heated emails or phone calls make me wonder what we truly deem to be important.
Yes, these “direct” missives prompt me to learn that I made a mistake or that something needs attention. But we get bent out of shape about rather unimportant stuff. I also must be honest in mentioning that I too get miffed at people and probably say or write things the receiver views as my being less than gracious. That’s happened more than once.
Here’s the point: Isn’t witnessing faith in Jesus and baptism’s expression of that faith and declaration to be a Jesus-follower and disciple what’s truly important? Could it be that we get thrown off track by the enemy so that we far too often fuss with one another about basically unimportant issues?
We sometimes see things in absolutes, and we want our way to be the way. Like a seething bull, we snort and huff and sometimes even make a grand charge at someone else—and Satan watches and smiles. He has us off track.
Off mission. Satan has people, even people who we love the most, while we fuss. I’d rather watch my grandson be baptized and think about heaven rejoicing.
Don Morris is the USMB national director. He and his wife, Janna, live in Edmond, Oklahoma, where they attend Cross Timbers Church.