In reflecting on the events of the past week, I have been in somewhat in a reflective mood. I have witnessed first hand how death can steal from us the most valuable commodity we all hold: time. I have been pondering the thought of what if the tragedy at First Baptist Church in Maryville and Pastor Fred Winters happened here at FCC and to me. While I prayed for the church and all those involved, never worried about my own personal safety, but what would I want to leave behind. What message would I want my faith community, everyone I know and care about to, receive if the exact same thing happened to me? I found myself with clarity, without horrible images in my mind, without the fear of death, with time being a precious unrecyclable resource, writing down little ramblings that came to me this past week.
Not at all to be morbid here are a few.
- Don’t let the last few minutes of my life be the constant image you carry of me into the future. I pray my life was an example of the joy that comes with being in a relationship with Christ. Please laugh, joke, celebrate, have fun and remember me the way I lived life not the way I died.
- Don’t ever be afraid to be in the house of our Lord. God’s house has to be open, free, and inviting to all, no matter what. Don’t fear the stranger as they need Christ love also.
God called me home from the place were I feel his holy presences the closest. Behind the pulpit, communion table, or a guitar for me is the serenity place I feel the warmth, strength, and comfort of God the most. I was taken into God’s kingdom from the exact place where I experienced and came to know as the most Holy place on earth.
- If I ever hurt you, disappointed you, or let you down please know it was not my intent and please forgive me.
- Pray and pray hard. Pray for my family, our church, and the one who was responsible for taking my life. Forgive them also. View it only for the reality of exactly what happened. A person in poor mental health reacted out of his illness, not out of clarity.
- Keep on truckin. Don’t spend much time and energy on mourning my death. Use that energy to help others connect to the love of Jesus Christ. That is my only passion, so use my memory only to motivate your self to connect others to Christ. Our church holds many special unique gifts, use them abundantly to serve, love, help, invite, and mentor others in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Root for the University of Memphis Tigers, love each other abundantly, be limitless in forgiving each other, and at every opportunity share what God, not me, has done for your life. Remember God is about love and reconciliation so we will meet again.
Last but not least, use the time you have left wisely and never take it for granted.
My intent is not to glorify this horrible tragedy or use it for my own gain but wanted to share my message if time was ever robbed from us. I hope it will stir your thoughts as we experience Lent together, reflect on the time Christ spent on earth, cherish the time we have, and chose to use it wisely. Time is the precious commodity. Shalom, Tommy