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Three Steps

November 21, 2019

They are just three wooden steps.

When you see them, that’s probably all you see — three pretty steps that lead to a platform. When I see them, I see memories and milestones. I see new beginnings and final farewells. When I see those steps I see my life, my family, my home. Those steps at First Baptist Church of Waco tell my story.

When I was eight years old, my father died and at his funeral they placed his casket at the foot of those steps. During the funeral I saw one of the ladies in the church smile at me. That smile has stayed in my memory all these years. In that smile she said, “You are going to be OK and this church family is going to be here for you.” She was right. I wound up being OK and they were there for me.

Less than a year later, it was at those steps that I publicly professed my faith in Jesus Christ. I shook the pastor’s hand while the church who had loved me into that moment sang “The Savior is Waiting.” Not long after that I was baptized just a few feet from the top of those steps.

Growing up I sang, played instruments, did puppet shows, read scripture, prayed, and played all around those steps. Those steps were holy ground where God formed my faith and transformed my life.

In a hallowed position at the top of those stairs there stands a pulpit. While I was growing up that pulpit contained a plaque which was strategically placed so the preacher could clearly see it. I guess most people didn’t even know it was there, but in my memory it still sits there reminding the preacher of the glorious task to which he has been called. Each time the preacher entered the pulpit he would be charged with the words of John 12:21, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” To this day when I see those steps I hear the voices of my childhood pastors echoing in my mind and heart.

It was at those steps that I responded to God’s call into ministry, and it was there that I preached my first sermon. It was at those steps that I was licensed to the ministry.

During my Baylor days I participated in the college choir and we stood around those steps when we sang. In that choir I met the love of my life who eventually became my wife.

Many years later my mother died and we said “goodbye” to her at the foot of those steps as she lay in the same spot my father had lain 45 years earlier. Once again the church family ministered to us and reminded us that they were there for us and we would be OK.

In January of this year I stood at the foot of those steps with my daughter and gave her hand in marriage. I then climbed those steps and performed her wedding. As I pronounced the happy couple “man and wife” I fought back tears of joy. Later I realized that part of the emotion of that day was due to the fact that I got to share those steps with her. For the rest of her life those steps will mark a major milestone in her life as they mark so many milestones for me.

I’ve been at those steps many times. Sad times and joyful times alike have found me there. I have come to that sacred place to celebrate and to mourn, to learn and to teach, to proclaim and to hear. I have worshipped and wept, laughed and loved, called on God and been called by Him at those steps. I have stood there with overwhelming gratitude and I have knelt there in desperate humility.

They are just three wooden steps. When you see them, that’s probably all you see — three pretty steps that lead to a platform. When I see them I see my life, my family, my home.

Those steps tell my story.

 

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2 Comments
  1. Uncle Charlie and Aunt Diane permalink

    This is beautiful. Some of us have great precious memories involving those steps. When that church was built, the architect had no way to know the impact and wonderful memories those steps would hold for so many. You have described the impact and meaning of those steps through your journey beautifully. It was so sweet reading this and having been there for some of your memory lane, Thank You for taking us back through this treasure. God Bless You. We will think of you and read this journal remembering the special occasions you have taken up and down those beautiful steps!
    God Bless You and Your precious family.

    Like

  2. Mike Nevins permalink

    John,
    I appreciate you and your thoughts.

    Like

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