Just returned from the installation of my brother, Kenny, as the Senior Pastor of my home church, The Tabernacle Church of Norfolk. For the first time since my father’s death in 1996 all three of us brothers were together: Ronnie, my senior by two years, Kenny, my junior by 13 years, and me.
Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher of the late 1800s, called the practice of ordination, “laying lazy hands on empty heads.” He was never ordained and never took to himself the title of Reverend. Being appointed by God was simply enough. Men cannot give to you the call, and if you are called, they can’t take it away.
But I found there was power in the moment of installation. When another person sees in your life evidence of a call of God, that is a moving thing, a memorable thing. When someone decides to believe in you, the energy of it can sustain a person through many a trial. Ann Landers long ago gave advice to a mother who felt her son was coming under the influence of friend who was not the best of characters. Landers reminded her that the bad news is it takes only one person to turn your son the wrong way; the good news is that it takes only one person to turn your son the right way. People believing in people is a powerful thing. 6 1/2 billion people against you can be leveraged by just one person who believes in you. This is an amazing equation. I believe it is true. You don’t need everybody on your side. You need somebody on your side. Do you know who that is?
This is a moment to say thank you to those who have believed in me. You know who you are! This is a moment to remind you all to say to someone else, with a fixed gaze that makes makes them pay attention, “I believe in you.” There is incredible energy released in that moment, an atom-splitting moment that sets off a reaction that can last a person for a life time, Spurgeon notwithstanding.