A number I did not recognize called me recently. I never answer unidentified callers, but he left a message. The message said he was one of my former Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) students from 30 years ago.
So, I called him back. “Hello! My name is Rob Borkowitz, and you probably don’t remember me.”
He was right. My memory flailed about trying and hoping to remember. He told me that when he was at SCAD and I was a Baptist Student Union (BSU/BCM) campus minister, I drove him and other SCAD students to BSU/BCM Fall Conference, and it was because of that event, he had accepted Jesus Christ into his heart!
He told me that becoming a Christian changed the trajectory of his whole life. He decided, for the 30th anniversary of his salvation, to see if he could track me down and thank me. He simply called to let me know that I greatly impacted him. He wanted to encourage me that although I may not always see the growth of the seeds I plan, be assured that they do grow!
Rob told me he is now a pastor of a church in Iowa. He is married and has three daughters. The name of his first daughter is Savannah Joy, because he became a Christian in Savannah and he now has joy in Jesus Christ. The name of his second daughter is Autumn Hope because he became a Christian in Autumn and his hope is in Jesus. His third daughter is named Alexandra Grace because of the grace of God. Wow! There was joy in my heart and tears in my eyes.
As a minister, whenever I get a call, letter, or email like this, my heart is full. I’ve had students write or call me years later to say that I was the father they never had, or was responsible for completely changing their career. I save those letters and print out those e-mails because I treasure them. Frankly, they’re rare. College graduates are busy with life, marriage and parenting.
Many of us get too busy to say thanks for those who impacted and changed our lives. This conversation got me to thinking about who I need to thank. In Luke 17:15, 10 lepers were healed but only one said thank you.
“When one of them saw that he was healed, he came back. He praised God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.”
An attitude of gratitude leads to expressions of gratitude. We have been lifted up in life onto the shoulders of saints. With Thanksgiving only a week away, this a great time to say thanks to those who made a difference in our lives.
God placed a call on my life to disciple and witness and tell the good news of Jesus Christ, and sometimes I see the fruit of my labor, but often times I don’t.
Ministry is tough. I’ve struggled with the lack of affirmation. I don’t minister for the praise of people, but it sure is sweet when it happens! To God be the glory! Praise the Lord!
The Pastor’s Corner is sponsored by the Monroe County Ministerial Association, which meets on the second Thursday of each month at 8:30 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 417 N. Frontage Road, Forsyth.