We ordained two new deacons last Sunday. During the ordination service I couldn’t keep myself from crying. I think the reason I was moved was that the new deacons and their wives all came to accept Christ and be baptized by me. Seeing how they had grown spiritually to the point of being ordained deacons made me emotional.
Deacon candidates go through many procedures before being ordained. First, they must be recommended by fellow shepherds by vote. Then they need to must receive at least 2/3 of a congregational vote. After that they take written and oral exams. If they pass these, they are then finally ordained as deacons.
A few days before ordination, my wife and I meet with the candidates and their wives for dinner. This is mostly a time for fellowship but I also explain the duties of a deacon and answer questions they might have.
At this meeting, Sister Hi Sook Lee, Brother Hyuk Lee’s wife, told a story that left a strong impression on me:
“Our house budget has been always tight since we came to the States. I used to balance our check book every night to make sure we did not overspend. I always worried because we were barely scraping by financially. Then one day, instead of worrying, I decided to trust God with our family finances. I decided to use money sensibly but not be obsessive about knowing how much money we had in the bank. I stopped balancing the checkbook every night, just doing it once in a while. Despite this, our checks have never bounced. We are still just barely even financially as we were before. But before, I was enslaved to worry and I’m free from it now.”
She is right. If we seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness first, He will meet all our needs. When you have the right priority, our needs will be met whether we are worried or not. Which way we want to live is up to us.
Sister Yun Hye Lee, wife of the other deacon candidate Brother Jai Dong Lee, also left a strong impression on me with her tears during the ordination ceremony. Her parents came from Korea and attended the ceremony and allowed themselves to be introduced to church members. This is significant because they are both strong Buddhists.
Brother Lee and his wife were also strong Buddhists themselves. In her speech during the ceremony Sister Lee shared, “Seven years ago I came to Houston and attended a house church meeting for the first time. I still remember what I said that night. I said that I felt like I was betraying my Buddhist parents by sitting in a Christian meeting. Now in the presence of my parents my husband is now ordained as a deacon.” Then she sobbed.
I don’t know exactly why she cried but I can guess. She must have been saddened by the fact that her parents may not join her in eternity because they have not yet received Christ. I may have cried because I felt for her.
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