Why Wait Any Longer?
At Hope, we usually encourage people to wait for our Annual Baptism service to be baptized, but every once in a while there’s a situation that warrants not waiting. This past week we had two of those situations, and I was given the great honor of getting to baptize a 72-year-old and an 8-year-old. Their lives couldn’t be more different, yet they both speak to the graciousness of God.
This past weekend, surrounded by family and friends, in a backyard pool, I was able to baptize 8-year-old Hope Shepherd. Hope was out of town for our Annual Baptism service and just didn’t want to wait a whole year to get baptized. Family and friends ate a BBQ lunch, and then we cheered and celebrated as Hope made her public profession of faith. I prayed with Hope that this moment would lead to a deepening relationship with Jesus for years to come. It was a beautiful, grace-filled moment!
A few days before Hope was baptized, I was able to do another baptism. It started with a phone call from a Hopester who told me that his mom was being moved into Hospice care. She had just placed her faith in Jesus and wanted to be baptized right away. That afternoon, I drove to the hospital and walked into a room packed with family and friends. Tears filled most of the eyes in the room as we circled around a frail Shirley Baxter while she bravely professed her faith through the public act of baptism. I carefully poured a cup of water over Shirley’s head, and we prayed a prayer of thanks for the decision Shirley had made, for the graciousness of the Heavenly Father, and for the peace and hope Shirley’s baptism had given the rest of us in the room.
After Shirley’s baptism I drove back to the church for some afternoon meetings. After pulling into the church parking lot and walking back into my office, I received a phone call. It was Shirley’s son calling to let me know that Shirley had passed away. Thirty minutes after being baptized, Shirley was with Jesus. With tears we celebrated and mourned at the same time. It was a beautiful, grace-filled moment.
Hope and Shirley have the same story. While their lives might look different, they both made the decision to not wait any longer to be baptized, and they both made their faith known through the public act of baptism.
The question that has become more urgent for me this week is, “Why wait?” Whether you are 8, 9, 25, 39, or 72 years old…. why wait any longer?
I am so thankful for the decision an 8-year-old and a 72-year-old made this week. Is there any decision you have been putting off?
Why wait any longer?
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9