Last Thursday our deacons, ministry staff, and their wives threw a party to celebrate my 60th birthday. I was slightly embarrassed by the public party because Deacons Yoo, Ha, and Lee all recently celebrated their own 60th birthdays with small family celebrations.
I can’t believe that I’m 60 years old. Even though I now have a grandchild I still feel funny when children call me a grandfather at church. I’m still pleased when young parents say that they feel like I’m their brother and slightly offended when they say they feel like I’m their father or uncle. I still enjoy reading children’s stories and romantic novels. I’m still in my twenties or thirties in my heart.
Although I don’t particularly like getting old, now is the happiest period of my life. I often say to God, “What did I do to deserve this happy life?” I say this especially after hearing people give personal testimonies about how our church and my ministry has affected their lives. Most people live their entire lives taking care of only themselves and their families. It is a privilege and a blessing to live a life which has a great influence on others.
When I am out of town I can hardly wait to come back to Houston, because I miss our church members so much. Not many pastors feel this way about their church. When I arrive at the Houston airport, the heat and humidity hit me like a wall but that doesn’t bother me. In fact, it makes me feel like I’m being welcomed back home.
Our church is the main reason that I’m living such a happy life. And our deacons are the ones who made the church such a happy place for me.
Some say that I have pretty good pastoral leadership qualities. If this is true, the credit must go to our deacons. Leaders are made, not born, and our deacons have made me the leader I am today. Had they argued every idea I offered or criticized me as much as the deacons of many other churches do, my weaknesses and shortcomings would have been revealed. Instead of becoming a leader, I might have been kicked out of the church. Our deacons have helped me so that only my strengths and my good sides have been shown.
I have tried to have a principle-driven ministry. When I feel someone is going against these principles I tend to lash out with harsh words. Thinking back, I realize that almost all the deacons and their wives have been victims of my sharp words at least once in the last 12 years. But they always forgave, loved, and prayed for me.
They are the best presents I could have received for my 60th birthday.
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