There is a couple in our church who just celebrated their sixty-first wedding anniversary. They have faithfully served our church longer than I have been alive. As I rejoice in this milestone with them, I am reminded of one more reason it is important to stay at the same church for many years. I not only get to celebrate this special day with them, but my history with this couple makes this day that much more sweet.
My first years at the church were difficult. For some different reasons, this couple and I butted heads to say the least over many things. Our relationship struggled for the first several years. If I would have left the church at the typical time a pastor leaves his church over the difficulty and strained relationships (usually around 2-4 years), that is how our relationship would have stayed.
I did not leave. I stayed to press through. More importantly, this couple also stayed to press through. It forced us to try to figure out the other; how to relate to the other; learn how to love and trust the other. By God’s grace, within the next few years our relationship took a turn for the better. I started to understand them. They started to understand me. We began to grow in love and trust for one another.
Now I can say after ten years, this couple is one of the sweetest, most meaningful relationships I have in our entire church. The sweetness of this relationship comes because we both refused to take the easy way out and bail. We stayed and wrestled together through the challenges for the sake of Christ and his church.
Because of this, it makes their wedding anniversary that much more special for me. Happy Anniversary you two! I am grateful more than you know that I get to celebrate it with you. You both are an example to so many of us, and we rejoice how the Lord has blessed you both.
Therefore, I am thankful for many things as Thanksgiving approaches this week. But, in light of this couple’s momentous anniversary and getting to celebrate it with them, I am so very thankful I stayed! And…they stayed also.