Perhaps we all have that one morning or afternoon that has remained with us over decades, still guiding us even today.
Mine was the spring of 1970, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Sam Samford had finished his class notes when he looked down, was silent.
Quietly, in the way of older Southern men, said, "When you leave here, graduate I mean, each of you will continue your current ministry, or find your first position to serve.
You will mature in your ministry for decades, long after you have forgotten me, and this class.
You will face challenge and opportunities, each requiring decisions
Slowly, not at any one time, or at any one place of ministry, there may grow a shadow of doubt, a hesitation.
There may be a time when you find it easier to turn away from that next decision, and then the next.
If that time in your ministry does come to you, the weight heavy on your shoulders
I urge you to have the courage, the step of true Faith,
To lay your key on the counter, pick-up your briefcase
And walk away
You have lost your seat at the table."
Dr. Samford spoke of the emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges ahead before counseling, support groups, and 24 hour 800 numbers.
But still, his caution, his call to be accountable, is still with me today.
I would like Dr. Samford to know, I still have my key.