Monday, November 2, 2015

A faithful ministry

On the wall directly across from my desk is a picture of George Younce and Glen Payne, two of the founding members of the Cathedral Quartet. For those readers not familiar with Southern Gospel music, the Cathredrals were one of the major quartets in that genre. While some members of the group came and went, George and Glen remained the heart and soul of the Cathredrals. For over 30 years they toured the nation singing in churches and quartet conventions. As they were preparing to retire, Glen Payne became ill and passed away, and the group did retire at the end of that year.

There is a reason their picture is on my wall. My wife and I had permanent seats at the National Southern Gospel Quartet Convention, a week long event held annually, for many years. The last year the Cathredrals were to perform there Glen Payne was absent from the stage. During their set, he was connected to the auditorium by telephone from his hospital bed. He thanked everyone for their support over the years, asked for their prayers, and sang a powerful song over the phone. Of course, we had no way of knowing at the time, but a few weeks later he passed away.

When they finished their set, I never heard the next group that came on the stage. I felt the Lord telling me that he wanted the same level of faithfulness from me that the Cathredrals had demonstrated throughout their long ministry. Like any other music genre, there are some in Southern Gospel music whose conduct has been less than Christian. I do not know of a single accusation that was ever lodged against the Cathredrals. They seemed to have been held in high esteem by both their fans and their peers. They were never involved in a scandal and were true ambassadors of Christ. That, I felt that night, was what God was saying he wanted from me.

The next year at the convention it was announced that a painting had been done of George and Glen and prints were available that night. George and Glen's widow would autograph them. I immediately left my seat and went to the sales area and got in line. I paid more that night for a print than I had ever paid for one in my life, but I wanted to hang it where I would be reminded every day of the faithfulness God was asking of me.

We often measure success by numbers, and numbers are important, but true success in life and ministry is found in remaining faithful to the task God has given us. We won't always have the biggest church, write a best selling book, be invited to speak at national gatherings, or be a household name, but that's OK. What God wants from each of us is simply to be faithful to the work he has given us, to use the gifts he has given us, and to be faithful in word and deed to the cause of Christ.

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