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Rewards of service reaped even after retirementcomment (0)

March 6, 2003

By Betty Baggott

There is a price to be paid for the joy of serving on a church staff. I paid that price recently as an undeserved retirement (to work harder than ever before in other areas) service was held in my honor at Farmville Baptist Church in Auburn.

If you asked me how long I have served as their director of education I would have said only a few months, though it has been nine years. Time flies when you are having fun, and you see results in the lives of people. I would have to say this little church with a big heart has challenged me to be a better person. There is no greater love than the power of love that can be felt in a church.

Let me explain about the phrase, “There is a price to be paid.” Not being on the staff does tug at my heart strings in ways that cannot be expressed in words because I am so close to the people, but as a member I can still contribute.

One of the gifts presented to me was most unusual. A beautiful camel colored Peniel Pillow. From the moment I read about the pillow (I wish I had done this in the service) I decided this would be a lovely gift for me to give on many occasions.

Inside the attractive card were these words: In Genesis 32:30 it is written, “Jacob named the place Peniel (the face of God) for he said ‘I have seen God face to face and yet my life is spared.’ Like Jacob, we all wrestle with the cares of this world. Our hope at Peniel Pillows is that these keepsakes will be a constant reminder of God’s promises as you read the Scripture passage individually selected for each unique pillow. Knowing God’s Word is the key to life. We pray that you, too, will see His face and live.”

The pillows are called by different names. Mine was Wisdom with the verses Proverbs 3:13–20. A beautiful gold key marked the entrance to an open pocket in the pillow. Inside was a New Testament Bible with a key on the front. It read, “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom. ... She is more precious than rubies; nothing you can desire can be compared to her.” Wisdom promises certain rewards, longevity and prosperity. God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. We are told in the Word that those who are wise shine like the brightness of the heavens. True wisdom is found by allowing Jesus, who has become for us, wisdom from God — our righteousness, holiness and redemption. To take up residence in our hearts and live (shine) through us.”

I will cherish this unique pillow.

So deep within all of us is the need to prove ourselves, even when we know we are dependent on God. That is one reason I have always loved the church. It is a place full of sinners (me included) and yet within the walls there is grace and room for all. I learned a long time ago to be trusting of God, to try and not score points with Him. I don’t have to prove anything. He accepts me like I am. I must strive for the wisdom only God can give to live life.

Likewise I can learn and have learned a lot from people.

People like the congregation at Farmville. Thank you dear people for allowing me to serve and be a part of your lives.

Editor’s Note — Betty Baggott’s column will still appear in The Alabama Baptist in the first issue of each month.

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