Two in a Canoe…Happily Incompatible!

The weekend after Linda and I got engaged to be married, we decided to go canoeing one afternoon. She was paddling one direction and I was paddling the othe direction, and we both were determined each of us were doing it right …. Well, before we knew it, the canoe flipped over in the middle of the lake. ! My first thought was she okay? I knew she alright when  she raised her left hand above the water, asking, “Is my Ring okay?”I really like how  Billy Graham how described his  marriage…”Happily Incompatible! Ruth and I didn’t have a perfect marriage, but a great one. In a perfect marriage, everything is always the finest and best imaginable; like a Greek statue, the proportions are exact and the finish is unblemished. Who knows any human beings like that? The unblemished ideal exists only in ‘happily ever after’ fairy tale.  Ruth liked to say, ‘ if two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.’ The most important truth we need to know about marriage is that God gave it to us. True love is an act of the will,  a conscious decision to do what is best for the other person instead of ourselves.”

For an effective relationship there must be mutual love and respect for each other. Along with that, it is important to make a consistent effort to develop good communication skills. The  Bible states “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.”( 1 Corinthians: 13: 4-5). 

It’s not a matter of “my way or the highway” type of attitude but rather “Our way as we follow God’s plan together”.By the way, this week, over 33 years later, Linda and I went canoeing  for a second time.  (Yes, only our second time!)  Even though Linda was little nervous, it was a great time. We stayed afloat, never flipping, because we both communicated  – working together as a team paddling in the same direction.   

Everyone needs a Faith Team

I recently took a trip with our Sr. Adult church group to visit the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. On our way there we, drove by so many places that has impacted my life spiritually. I saw Stoney Mountain off in the distance, close to Mountain Home, N.C. where my Papaw had his farm. He was a humble but strong man of faith. I still have his Bible, full of notes he had written and tear stains, where he had prayed for me and the rest of his family everyday. We drove by the Hendersonville N.C. exit, my hometown, which was a great place to grow up. I also thought about First Baptist Church there, I was in the youth group and then later served on staff . I thought about Mud Creek Church where we served for ten years before moving to Tennessee. I thought about Fruitland Baptist Bible College where I taught during that time. So many great memories of people and wonderful experiences of growing as a Christian and as a pastor. As we drove closer toward Charlotte, we went by the city of Shelby which is near Gardner-Webb University where I went to college. My mind was flooded with so many memories of the faculty and students there who helped, encouraged, and shaped me in so many ways. I thought about Linda’s granddaddy, whose farm was near there. He and his family have been such a blessing to me. I also thought about all our friends we have made in our  24 years at First Baptist Church in Sevierville, Tennessee. 

While we were visiting the Billy Graham Library, I noticed a lot of it was about those people who impacted and encouraged him and his faith through the years. I saw this interesting quote he said about hs life and ministry: “This ministry has always been a Team effort…a band of brothers and sisters committed to Christ and to our ministry, whose support, advice, counsel, and prayers through the years have made it all possible, without their loyalty and dedication little could have been accomplished.” Amen! Although I’m not an evangelist like Billy Graham, I can say the same thing about my team of friends through the years who helped me do what I do and have helped me grow in my faith. I’m so very grateful for all of them. 

Everyone needs a Faith Team, who is on your team? Be thankful  for all they have done and continue to do for you.