Be sure to notice the tall cotton in your life
Have you ever walked in tall cotton? I have not, literally; but I have “walked in tall cotton.” Recently, I was at Southwest Baptist University (SBU) for our quarterly Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board meeting. It was my first board meeting in my new position and I enjoyed reconnecting with longtime friends as well as meeting new ones.
SBU was a great host. They fed us well, which is a good thing in my book. During breakfast, I found myself sitting at a table of “tall cotton.” One of those at the table was Pat Taylor. I have had the pleasure of knowing Taylor for some time and I am one of his ardent fans. He is doing a great job at SBU. I was a student there once upon a time and I have a genuine love for the school. It was good to be back on campus for a couple of days. This time however, I was a visitor and not a student sweating out a test in Dutile’s class and I am no longer one of Bob Derryberry’s Young Scholars.
There were others at the table that I had not previously met but now consider them new friends. One of those is Woody Burt from Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG). I had heard of Burt but had never met him. We had a great conversation and I walked away from the table that morning with a high level of respect and admiration for him. He is doing a great job at HLG. I am blessed to have spent some time with Tom Hufty. Although I personally did not attend, I have several friends that did and know students currently being schooled at HLG. It was impressive to listen to Burt present the college’s report to the Executive Board and hear all of the great things God is doing on campus.
Two others at the table were Raymond “Bob” Kenison and Bob Springate with the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH). These men are doing an incredible job at the MBCH and although I had not previously met them, I gained an immediate respect for them and what they are doing in ministry. I am somewhat familiar with the MBCH. Before Kandy and I were blessed with our son, Samuel, we had looked very intently at adopting through the MBCH. I am blessed to be friends with Robby Haynes and so I am familiar with all of the great things the MBCH does.
As you can tell, there were several guys at the table that had “Dr.” in front of their names. I am not one of those guys and probably never will be. I do have a P.H.D. though; in Taney County that stands for Post Hole Digger … I am digressing here.
As I was enjoying breakfast, I began to quietly reflect on the three institutions represented at the table.
Have you heard we have lawsuits ongoing? Have you heard that we have five agencies that have broken away from the MBC? Unless you have been living in a cave, you know what I am talking about. Let me encourage you to do this; for a few minutes quit thinking about the lawsuits and think about something else. Think about the fact that there are three agencies that have remained with the MBC. Not only that, but they are three healthy agencies that are doing an incredible work in God’s Kingdom.
How many people have walked through the classrooms of HLG and SBU and obtained a superior Christ-based education? How many mothers who may have considered abortions gave birth to their children and then entrusted them to Christian homes through the MBCH? How many couples who suffer from infertility have been able to adopt children through the MBCH? As we were enjoying our biscuits and gravy, I suddenly felt a deeper appreciation for these three agencies. I have always loved and appreciated them, but even more so now.
Let me encourage you to do a couple of things. One, thank God for these three wonderful ministries and praise Him for the work they do. Two, please covenant to pray for them. I would encourage you to send an email, card, or some type of correspondence to Dr. Taylor, Dr. Burt, and Drs. Kenison and Springate letting them know they have your prayers and your admiration and maybe even ask them what you can do to serve them.
Indeed, I was walking in tall cotton that morning. Thank you HLG, SBU, and MBCH for what you do for the Lord and what you mean to the MBC. (Vince Blubaugh is director of communication and development for the MBC.)