By Dr. Rex Horne

Executive Director, Arkansas Baptist State Convention

The pen, the purse, presence and prayer

By Dr. Rex Horne

Executive Director, Arkansas Baptist State Convention

A new year is almost here. I have come to a place in my journey where I do not take life for granted.  Personal experience has taught me that life is to be treasured. We have experienced or observed through the experience of friends and family that this treasure can be fragile and is fleeting. One, therefore, should make the most of each day in the coming new year. 

One of my first opportunities in my interim role with the state convention was to zoom (a word used infrequently until recent years!) with mission strategist Jeff Thompson, and some of the pastors in the association of churches he serves. I had jotted down a few things, but in speaking my mind recollected a message I had heard years ago. 

The preacher of the message was evangelist Junior Hill, who has spoken in Arkansas Baptist churches, conventions and conferences across the years. The Lord has used this man in my life. I do not remember the text, but I do remember the points he made about ways we can serve and touch the lives of others. 

Junior spoke of the pen, purse and presence. The pen represents a note of encouragement or thanks we write to someone. A note takes a few minutes to write, but its impact can change a day or one’s life. Why not make a commitment to write a note to someone the Lord brings to mind each week? I know a text, email or call can be used as well. There is, however, something special about a note. 

The purse represents one’s material blessings and the stewardship of them. In the coming year develop the discipline, if you have not already, of being a cheerful giver. Your tithes and offerings through your church will minister to people in your town, our state and some will touch the “uttermost parts” of the world.  

Then there is the ministry of presence. How often in times of bereavement we hear someone state that they don’t know what to say to the grieving family. In those times and many others, it is not what you say but the fact that you are there. We all can think of people who are simply there at various times for celebration, worship, shared grief or ministry challenge. 

The way to begin is to pray first. The ABSC Communications Team has produced videos to guide us to pray first this coming January. Perhaps we might pray today that the Lord will create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit in us. C.S. Lewis wrote that “it is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.”  

Let us commit ourselves to pray for a year filled with promise and possibilities. May the pen, purse and our presence be tools whose use is prompted by the Holy Spirit and used for the good of people to the glory of God and the expansion of our Lord’s kingdom. May the Lord bless, guide and use us today and in the coming year. 

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