Last night at our Elders meeting we said "thank you" to our chairman, Chuck Haynes.
Chuck announced that he would be stepping down as chairman to be full-time caregiver to his wife, Joyce.
Joyce has had some health problems of late and Chuck feels that she needs his undivided attention.
That Chuck would make such a decision is not surprising.
He is one of the most compassionate people I've ever known. The love his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has shown to him is what motivates Chuck to reach out with love to the people in our congregation.
He is an outstanding lay theologian. He takes no credit for that. As he recently told me, "I just grew into becoming a student of the Bible. The more you study and search the Scriptures the more you learn and the more you want to know the truths that God has revealed in the Bible. It's really exciting!"
Personally, I will always remember Chuck's support when I brought up the topic of taking a sabbatical a few years ago.
The idea of giving pastors an extended break for rest and renewal is not considered much in the LCMS.
But I was burned out. I needed a break. Chuck recognized this and supported a renewal for me.
He also spent a lot of time talking with those who were concerned that my absence would somehow harm the church. Through his calm demeanor and willingness to listen Chuck was able to help some of the fence sitters to see the benefits of a renewal for me and for our church.
Chuck and Joyce aren't going anywhere. They'll still be sitting in the second row, pulpit side.
Keep these two beloved people in your prayers. May the Lord fill Joyce's heart with much joy even in the midst of some declining health. And may He grant Chuck strength and endurance as he takes on a new role.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise God for Chuck and Joyce!