An old man named Calvin had lived a good life as a farmer for years. One day an evangelist came to the community, and, in the course of his stay, visited Calvin and asked him what denomination he was. Calvin answered the question like this: “When my grain gets ready for selling, after I’ve harvested it and packaged it, I can take it to town by any one of three roads ” the river road, the dirt road, or the highway. But when I get my grain to town and go to the buyer to sell him what I have, he never looks at me and asks, Calvin, which road did you take to get your grain to town?’ What he does do is ask me if my grain is any good.”
WOW, what a question: “Is your grain good – the grain of your discipleship?” That’s all that really matters. When we get to Heaven we will probably find some (Roman Catholics) and some (Baptists) and some (Presbyterians). And they’ll be just as surprised to see us as we will to see them. But we will all belong to just one fellowship. Let’s call it the Fellowship of the Bearers of Cold Water. We will all be people who have lived out our discipleship through acts of kindness to others.
I must admit to all of you that I am a bit prejudice when it comes to denominations. I really love the United Methodist Church. And I love it because of its beliefs… especially its emphasis on grace. I would not want to be another denomination even though we probably get it wrong sometimes. I admire other denominations for their theology, their ritual, their missions, but I love the United Methodist Church because I have found a home here… and here I have been given life. In this Church I have become (over all these years) part of the fellowship of the bearers of cold water… I am learning how to love and be a person of love. I am learning about grace and how to be a person of grace.
Most of all, I believe that I am learning that my grain is good – the grain of my discipleship. I am no Billy Graham, even though my dad was good friends with Grady Wilson. I am no Mother Theresa, even though I thoroughly believe in missions. I am no Philip Martin, my brother, who is still preaching into his seventies. I am no Kevin Stamps, who is my grand-nephew, an Army Chaplain at Fort Bragg, even though I wanted to go back into the Navy as a Chaplain.
I am no Peter Marshall, even though I work hard at sermon preparation and delivery. I am no Dee Bee Martin, even though I try to walk in his steps. Over these 40 years of ministry many people have come to know Christ through my availability to God. But my dad – In all his many years in ministry there was only one year of active ministry where he did not bring someone into the membership of the church…ONLY ONE! And one day in 1950 he baptized 45 people in the Little Tennessee River. My discipleship doesn’t seem like much when you compare it to some of the greats… but because of the grace of God my grain is good… Jesus makes it so as I seek to grow in him daily.
How’s your grain? Doesn’t matter what road you traveled to get to the end of your journey… “How is your grain of discipleship… is it good?”
Lord, sometimes I do so wonder about my grain. Sometimes I think there may be a little mold in it or not enough sparkle to it… but it is grain which was grown at your hand, in your field, for your people. Continue to bless it that it may bring forth fruit in and through Jesus. Amen.
Grace and Peace