Daily Devotional for June 15, 2022

These last three days, I have been at annual conference with Laura and Lucia.  This is a yearly event where representatives from each church, worship and address the business needs of the conference.
A very important part of annual conference is the continuing education component.
During one of these sessions, we were asked to pull out a piece of paper, a pen, and answer the following question: “What were the three greatest sermons that shaped your spirituality?”
I worried what Lucia and Laura would write down because they had heard so many fantastic sermons these last 16 years, they would have a very hard time narrowing it down to just three.  Then I looked in their direction.
Both were staring straight ahead as if they were frozen in place.  They had no intention of making eye contact or even acknowledge I was sitting next to them.  They hadn’t written down any sermons – nothing, nada, zero, zilch. 
I said, “Really, really, you can’t think of three sermons.”  
They stared straight ahead and ignored everything I said.  
Finally, they told me all the sermons were so good, they couldn’t choose.
The theological term for that is baloney.
This got me thinking.
The first time I preached in our beautiful sanctuary was June 16, 2006.  As people ran for the exits, they couldn’t get out because the ushers had locked the doors.   They were forced to listen to the entire sermon.  It’s been downhill ever since.  
Tomorrow, on June 16, I will begin my 17th year as pastor of the greatest church in the history of churches.  For me, being your pastor has been a tremendous blessing and one of the greatest privileges of my life.
One of my most fervent wishes has been to be in a church long enough to baptize, marry, and bury the same people.  This rarely happens in the United Methodist Church because pastors are moved so often.  I have been fortunate to be one of the rare exceptions.
Melissa’s best guess is that I’ve preached over 1,000 sermons and taught hundreds of Bible studies, written (according to Margaret, our church historian) over 2,000 Daily Devotionals, and published one book that is now in its third printing.
In addition, we have also united the four blocks of our campus into one property, built Grobowsky Hall, remodeled Dennis Hall, bought and remodeled Mottel’s Garage, the Mother’s Day Out/Children’s Department, as well as the Raleigh White Youth building.  
Out of curiosity, I asked Melissa how many weddings, funerals, and baptisms I had done. Realizing I expected her to look up all that information, she began to hyperventilate, so I decided to say I’ve done a lot. 
There are no words to express my sincere gratitude to you for allowing me to serve as your pastor.  It continues to be a wonderful whirlwind filled with unexpected joy.
The psalmist said, “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1)
Today, I give thanks for your tolerance and grace.
Prayer:  Dear Gracious Heavenly God, I give you thanks for all the seen and unseen blessings in my life.  As a new day dawns, help me to proclaim your goodness, mercy, and peace to a lost and lonely world.  Use me for your purpose.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.
After the very hurtful experience with Lucia and Laura, I realize I’ve got to up my game and preach more memorable sermons.  I suspect they are too short.  I will fix that.
Again, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life for all these years.  I am exceedingly grateful.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins