This being Thanksgiving, I wanted to express my thanks to all of the faithful pastors that are opening their hearts to people—upholding them in their hearts through prayer, pouring out their hearts in preaching, and exposing their hearts in counseling. It is a great privilege to serve as a shepherd and it is also a grave responsibility, but men all around the world do it gladly with grace, in the Spirit’s power, in large and small places, and we can be thankful for them!
I particularly want to thank a faithful pastor I had as a child, Pastor Oddos Morris of the Poplar Run United Baptist Church. He hasn’t written any books or blogs or tweets that I know of. The church doesn’t even have a website. But he did play a vital role in seeing the Gospel written on my heart.
Poplar Run, then Philadelphia United Baptist, is a small country church that sits literally on the corner of an Indiana cornfield (alternatively a soybean field) in Farmland, Indiana. After church in the summers, we boys would run races around the building and throw the few parking lot rocks we had at the dilapidated barn across the street. Babies would crawl under the pews during the service, and, occasionally, a very elderly lady named Edith would bring tears to our eyes, shouting “Praise the Lord, and Praise Him, and Praise Him, and Praise Him!”
Pastor Morris, or “Brother Oddos” as most people would say, was a kind and quiet man outside the pulpit, but bold in it. He preached the gospel to me personally and publicly. I remember when he first sat down with me in one of the small side rooms, looked me in the eye and asked me if I was saved. I am sure he prayed for me after that. I just as plainly remember the Sunday morning a few months later in April when he preached “Let Him who is athirst, come, and take the water of life freely”—the Sunday that the Lord graciously saved me. His faithful personal and public ministry had reaped a harvest!
To all those like Pastor Morris ministering in seemingly small places, you have a big place in my heart, and in the heart of God. Though the harvest of your ministry is not concentrated in one place, it has been distributed into places of which only the Lord fully knows. Thank you for your faithful ministry!