This week of the year marks one of the most important and least celebrated days on the liturgical calendar – All Saints Day (for shame on the one who thought Halloween! Just kidding!). As Baptists, I know we are wary of using the word “saints.” For many of us, the Roman Catholic connotation of sainthood can be difficult to shake; however, the concept of the biblical word for “saints” literally translates as “holy ones.” In fact, Paul repeatedly addresses his epistles to the “saints” in Christ throughout the ancient world. The term is not reserved for those who have done miracles, seen visions, or uttered great prophecyat least not in the supernatural sense. Rather, it is a moniker that all children of God wear as they bear fruit in this world. My favorite definition of a saint is “someone who the light shines through.”
It caused me to reflect on the everyday saints that impacted me during my upbringing. I can remember a different saint for every season during my childhood. There was Kyle Thompson. He was a WWII veteran who survived being a POW working on the Japanese Death Railroad in Southeast Asia. I knew him as my camp counselor in 5 th grade who showed me what it means to be a follower of Jesus. There was Nathan Saucer. He had been a Youth Minister earlier in his life. At the time I knew him he was a lawyer and my 6 th grade Sunday School teacher who took me to lunch a few days after I found out my parents were getting divorced. He told me it was not my fault and those words changed my life. There was Terry Scoggins. He was a banker by trade and a proud Texas A&M Aggie, but he was also my 7 th grade Sunday School teacher who made me feel like the coolest guy in the world during a season when I was feeling low. There were others during my youth years: Rodney and Ginger Tew, Jim and Joanna Nelson, Mark Grissom, Steve and Roxanne Martin, Doc and Janis Lucas, and Fred and Dolores McNab – to name a few. Beyond those pivotal years, there are innumerable others who were saints in my life, most of whom did not have fancy theology degrees. None of them did anything “supernatural” by most definitions, however, they were saints of the faith to me.
Who was a saint in your life that had a massive impact on you?” Honor their memory by sharing their story with someone you know this week. Greater yet, live into the legacy of sainthood by following after their example. In time, my prayer is that others reflect on your life and that they make no hesitation calling you a saint. That starts when all the saints that call themselves Tabernacle Baptist Church gather to worship this Sunday. As that old spiritual says, “Oh, how I want to be in that number – when the saints go marching in!”
Expecting His Best,
Stephen V. Allen
Senior Pastor