Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Dedicated Life

Twenty nine years ago tomorrow, it was the first nice day of the spring after we had received a record-breaking 100+ inches of snow in the Chicago area. It was a Sunday, and after church Mike and I decided to go for a walk to our friend's house, since the sidewalks were finally clear. I was pregnant with my first baby, five days overdue, and you can probably guess the rest. By the next morning, I was holding Matt in my arms.

All that long winter preceeding his birth, our Sunday School class at First Baptist of Park Forest had been praying for the baby. In those days, you didn't know if you were having a boy or a girl, but whatever we were having, the class was praying for someone who would devote themselves fully to serving God. I've lost track of most of those people, which is really regretable. They would love to know that Matt chose to answer the call of ministry.

When Matt was ten, he came in from delivering papers one day and said, "Mom, I've been thinking. This summer, instead of playing Little League, I want to get better at swimming. Because, if I become a missionary, I might have to swim across rivers to get to the people who need to hear about Jesus!"

When he was in high school, while everybody else was up to the usual high school shenanigans at lunch time, Matt was leading a prayer club he started.

In college he chose to live in a Christian co-operative house. He was a good student, and had plenty of options open to him, so he started off studying engineering. But his heart lay elsewhere, and he changed curriculums to better prepare himself for ministry. Then, he went to seminary.

Now, he is in his first pastorate. It's a small church, and it has all the usual small church issues, along with some that are unique to that congregation. It hasn't been easy. But recently a man from that congregation was liscenced to preach. A number of people have been baptized. A young boy who was in a world of trouble has been completely turned around. So, the spirit is working. For that church, I would like to send this verse:

Joshua 3:5-"Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you."

The prayers our friends lifted up during that snowy winter have been answered.

Happy Birthday, Matt!


Michael Thomas said...

That's a good summary of Matt's life. The quality I admire most about Matt is, as A.W. Tozer says, his determination to "follow hard after God". That is Matt's desire and I believe there is much positive evidence that he continues this pursuit of God. God has lead him over some rough terrain, but the fruit is there in abundance. May God continue to bless you as you perservere, heading to the promised land.

With love,
Mike Thomas

grant said...

my thoughts on Matt are here:

grant said...

that is here