I had another interesting experience one summer as I had been asked to speak to youth at regional camp meetings in the Manitoba Saskatchewan Conference. The first weekend meeting was in Saskatoon, and I was asked to report to the Conference President’s home where I would be staying throughout the weekend. I remember showing up dressed quite casually, in jeans and a shirt, but when I introduced myself to the Conference President’s wife upon my arrival, she just gasped and told me I needed to go upstairs and change because her husband was soon to arrive with the main speaker, Elder H.M.S. Richards Jr. I was quite startled by her reaction, as I don’t even remember her introducing herself to me. I went quickly upstairs to change into something more suitable to her expectations. I only had “business casual” clothing with me, so felt quite uneasy when I came downstairs.
Her husband and H.M.S. Jr had arrived and I was quite quiet during the meal, feeling quite intimidated by the experience. Once done with the meal, I quickly went upstairs and gathered my things and was set to go to the meetings. As I approached the front door, I looked and H.M.S Jr was sitting by himself in the living room and our eyes met. He said, “”Where are you going, Preacher?” I told him that I was going to the meetings to which he said, “ We don’t have to be there for an hour and half at least. Come sit down for a while.” Well, I didn’t want to be rude, so I did sit with him and found him to be a very nice man.
He asked me what I was preaching about that night and I said, “John, the baptist.” He said, “well, I’ll be just be talking about Jesus”. I felt so stupid, even though that was never his intention to make me feel that way. He was a very nice, practical man who obviously loved his Lord and people in general.
Years later, I was attending an Evangelistic Summit in Los Angeles and we had a chance to meet again and he remembered me and even gave me a personal tour of his private ham radio station. It was such a pleasure to spend time with someone who was so generous of his time and experience.
Another man, who was very gracious by nature was elder Don Corkum, the Alberta Conference President who called me to the Gospel Ministry. Elder Herb Larson, his predecessor had called me in my third year of college, but I refused his call because I felt it absolutely necessary to finish my degree. Gratefully, He understood and Elder Don reissued the called just prior to my graduation.
I remember seeing him at the cafeteria, among the other Presidents who were on campus for the Board of Directors meetings and he caught my attention. He was such a gracious man, that I felt comfortable to just walk up to him and after short pleasantries, he asked me if I liked Calgary. I told him that we had enjoyed Calgary and had lived there previously. He said “good because the Albert Conference Board of Directors and the Calgary Central Church board had asked him to extend a call for me to enter the Gospel Ministry to serve there as an Associate Pastor effective May 1, 1990. I was so pleased and accepted the call right then and there.
God’s timing is always the best and I am grateful for the godly people who have impacted my life. These two men impressed upon me the need to make Jesus central to my life and preaching. Their godly, gentle way was so meaningful and impactful to me. I am grateful to have met them and to have been counselled by them.
Are you struggling with God’s timing? When I look back at my calling to the ministry and the path the Lord lead me to my first assignment, I am amazed at His faithfulness. I tell you in His time, all things to do work altogether for good. My patience was tested, at times, but the Lord saw us through and connected us with people that were used of Him to draw us closer Christ.
Now, it was my turn to intentionally embrace the privilege of Pastoral Ministry and to help people to find purpose and passion for life through the call of the gospel.