Friday, April 3, 2009
I went to Blue Ridge, Georgia during my first quarter at Young Harris College. I was just a few months beyond age 18 and only a little further from that night in the Alamo Parsonage when I gave my life to Jesus and heard a call to preach. The first part of that divine encounter was great, but the second part was not something I was ready to accept. A new college friend invited me to go on a Lay Witness Mission his Dad was leading at the Blue Ridge Methodist Church. For those not in the know, a Lay Witness Mission was about a group of lay people going into a local church for a weekend to share their faith in Christ. I came away from that weekend mission knowing that I no longer could turn away from the call to preach. I had my first taste of what it meant to be used by God in ministry and somehow even at that early age, I knew it was where I wanted to be. I left Blue Ridge as one who finalized a decision that has bridged a lifetime.
I remembered this tonight as I read in the local newspaper the obituary of Harold Lumley. His son was the one who took me along on that trip to Blue Ridge. His Dad was used by God that weekend to help me crystallize a call that has taken me on a journey I would not want to have missed. I am sure I am just one of many who could tell stories of faith which would speak of the influence of this man who heard God's call to lead Lay Witness Missions.
I am not sure he ever really knew what the weekend meant in my life. I never really got around to telling him. Most likely as a young man, I failed to realize the way folks like him had such a hand in shaping my spiritual journey. As an older man, I know my debt to him. And so, on this night when I hear of his passing from earth to heaven, it is important to call his name again, and to say, "Thanks!"