The last thought on my mind last night remained to wake me up this morning: It was the story of The Workers in the Field.
Jesus tells the story about a farmer who hired workers for his field at different points throughout the day. And though it angered some, he bestowed on those hired late all the rights and privileges of those hired first.
When it comes to the ministry of Stan and Katy Key, I am beginning to comprehend the gratitude the workers must have felt who came late in the day. I wish I could say I showed up late because I didn’t know of them and their ministry; instead, within my spiritually shriveled state, it was no one’s fault but my own. Pride is a bummer.
I got there late, but I got there in time.
I came to Loudonville Community Church thinking I was “done” — I had begun to believe the lie that the future held little promise, that God was no longer interested in and had no more use for the likes of me. That misery reflected in my eyes when I looked in the mirror — it was ghastly.
But God restores. Over those two glorious years I got to know them, God used the ministry of Pastor Stan and Katy to rub oil on my calloused heart, to release from the depths tears of repentance, to replenish me in waterfalls of Living Water, and to restore to me — though I don’t want to reduce this to a cliche — the real Joy of my Salvation.
Gratitude has become my theme. Any “work” I’ve done in response has not been from the necessity of receiving any kind of benefit, but one of thankfulness and a blossoming love for Jesus.
Stan and Katy’s farewell last night, for me, was charged with “significance” — it’s a word that doesn’t even come close, though, to the actual experience. I found myself turning to observe hundreds belt out “Grace, Grace, God’s Grace,” and I was struck with the realization that I was in the presence of greatness — not of Stan and Katy — but of Jesus. A holy Weight filled and settled upon the room.
The physical loss of Stan and Katy in my life will be huge. It’s the hugeness of this loss, however, that fills me with even greater anticipation and expectation — of the day when we will be reunited at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and we will be in the presence of Jesus — forever.