For Wednesday evenings’ music special, Jeremiah and Mateo stepped up to sing “Sweet Beulah Land”. The harmony was wonderful; they did a great job, but… something was missing. The duo sang unaccompanied by any instrument, it’s true, but that wasn’t it. Aha! Gabriel’s deep voice was missing. This duo is usually a trio.
Our pastor’s message was about soul winning. We were urged to seek the “winner’s circle”; you are in the winner’s circle when you lead someone to Christ; we should go for the reward of the soul winner’s crown. Pastor Giardino lamented that the great commission often ends up being the great omission in believer’s lives. Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”Mark 8:35. In order for us to become soul winners, Pa s tor explained, we need to lose our lives. Of all the bible verses that our pastor read from, the one that hit home was his last, Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:4-10. The lesson learned was that even one sinner saved is worth the effort and worthy of celebration.
Here is something I don’t get. While sitting in my chair during the sermon last evening, and forgive me for this, I was studying faces. I noticed many of my brothers and sisters, although in good spirits, looked tired, having expressions one sees when a person has been worn out by the day’s demands. Meanwhile, behind the pulpit, or sometimes in front of it, or … well everywhere, there was Pastor Giardino delivering a most spirited and energetic sermon as though he was just starting his day. Full of laughter and joy, he’d turn on a dime to stern admonition. He would thunder on, back and forth, defining and refining his message, all the while provoking us to attention. So, how is it that our pastor surpasses most of the rest of us in stamina, being steady, ready, and ever-cheerful to the very end of the day? Consider how throughout the day, he not only deals with his own issues and errands, but with a dizzying array of other people’s problems and needs. The burden on this poor man’s back in just one day can easily outweigh a week’s worth of our individual burdens. Yet, there he was Wednesday evening, full of joyous vigor, happily and graciously feeding his flock with the most precious Word. Prayers and appreciate for our dear pastor are called for, would you not agree?