Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The Methodist who tried to be a Baptist
A Methodist pastor in Dalton, Georgia, asked a Baptist pastor if he could borrow his baptistry for a baptism by immersion. While Methodists commonly baptize by sprinkling, they also may immerse, and this Methodist pastor had a couple who had trusted Christ and wanted to go all the way under.
The Baptist pastor kindly agreed, and prepared his baptistry for the Methodists to use. He went back to check on things after they had used it, and he noticed water had splashed all over the place, in the changing area and even into the choir loft. So he asked the Methodist preacher, "What happened?"
His Methodist brother said, "Well, it was the first time I had done an immersion, and when I got in there to baptize the lady, I couldn't figure out where to grab her to put her under. I didn't want to touch her in an inappropriate place, so I grabbed her by the neck. She resisted, splashing water, but I got her under, and then I lost her in the water, and had to dive in to pull her up. In the process, water filled up my waders, so I had to climb out of the waders and leave them in the bottom of the baptismal pool, and I had to climb out dripping wet. I left the waders in the baptismal pool, so you can get them out when you want them. I'm not going back in there."
If you are wondering what great spiritual truth could possibly come out of that experience, here it is: you can't please everybody, so do your best to be who God made you, and don't worry about it. Whether you're a preacher or a parishioner, you don't need to try to be something you're not. God made you with your unique spiritual gifts. "A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church" (1 Corinthians 12:7, NLT). Find out what those are, and be your best at being you. If you're a Methodist, be the best Methodist you can be. If you're a Baptist, be the best Baptist you can be. Most importantly, be the best Christian you can be. And if somebody doesn't like who you are, that's their problem. Just don't grab them around the neck.
Copyright 2010 by Bob Rogers.