Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Man With The Shining Eyes

I read yesterday that Rev. Bill Watkins passed away over the weekend. Bill was almost 84 years young and had been scheduled to perform another man's funeral in a few days. I first got to know Bill in the early 1990s when we worked together on a Billy Graham associate crusade. He taught me more that he ever imagined about having a positive, loving spirit. He worked hard on that project and helped bridge the gap between otherwise disconnected churches.

Bill taught me something else he couldn't have known. I'm a bit ashamed to tell you the lesson, but I must. You see, Bill was a Presbyterian.

"So what?", you ask.

I grew up a Baptist.

Baptists were right. Therefore, we were right. Everyone else was...uh, not right!

We had the best Bible Study literature, the largest seminaries and the hugest protestant denomination in the country.

We sent out one of, if not the biggest missionary force in history.

Did I say we were right?

Everyone else -- including Presbyterians -- was suspect. If they were right, they would be Baptist.

(God, please forgive my arrogance!)

I met Bill Watkins, a man with shining eyes, a great sense of humor, a mature love for Christ and a deep well of compassion for people. He lived his sermons.

He helped open my eyes and change my heart.

I will forever be grateful to Bill. When I get to heaven, I can't wait to thank him personally!



Wish more people would/could learn that lesson. It's Jesus that's important, not which church you belong to. I've learned, at the least,to know what I believe in - from lots of different "religions": Catholics, Mormans, yes even Presbyterians. There is a purpose for every "season" and we need to gleen what we can from them all.

C. Beth said...

Great message. I think a good thing about the younger generations is that denomination is not such a big deal. I hope we have more and more unity in the Church.

Ranelle Tibbetts said...

I can empathize with the attitude of "We're right." The Lord has really started to pull back the layers of my arrogance in this matter. It challenges me. Thank you for reminding me that it is a good thing that the family of God is made up of many different backgrounds.