January 14

Written by Bill Grandi on January 14th, 2019

“Rejected by men, Accepted by God.” Those were the words G. Campbell Morgan’s dad wrote to him after his initial rejection by the Methodist committee to license him to preach. In spite of their rejection, he went on to become one of the greatest preachers known. It was after this disappointment and a painful experience at his first pastorate that Morgan wrote (after moving to a new church 15 miles down the road): “I found people, the fragrance of whose love will be with me to the end of my days.”

I can relate. When I graduated from Bible college, I was going to climb the ladder to success. I was going to be “big” someday, well-known in the “brotherhood” (what they called the collection of churches). Two things: 1) it never happened, and 2) I’m glad. I had issues-mainly arrogance issues as well as others-that took a long while to sort through. But another reason (and this falls under #2): it would have been much harder to break free of the legalism because of “colleague (peer) pressure.”  It was hard enough as it was to make the break without the added pressure of being “known.”

Time now allows me the opportunity to look back over 45+ years of ministry and see God’s hand in everything. The learning curve in Akron and Kirk. The strife in Kirk brought on largely by my own immaturity. The short ministries in Massillon and Fortville- the former showing me the value of God’s Word; the latter the ugliness of legalism. The riff in Danville cause by my own non-conformist attitude doctrinally, my decision to begin stepping away from my “brotherhood” thinking. 13 fairly good years in Terre Haute when I finally broke free from legalism for good and learned to care and learned I wanted to be a shepherd not a CEO. 5 years in Ohio where I saw I wasn’t washed up, but God could still use me. Then here in Spencer. I’m in my 13th years now and I wouldn’t trade my time here for any amount of money or to be anywhere else. I love these people and believe they love me. If this is to be where I end my life as a pastor, I will close my eyes one final time with a smile on my face. I’m a long way from “being known.” I wouldn’t want it any other way!!

“Father, there have been times I have been ‘rejected by men, accepted by God.’ As I look back, I can see your hand in every move. I can even see your hand of both learning and discipline over the years. I pray that my final years will be productive for you. Help me in my pursuit of You to help lead others in that same pursuit. And thank you for your acceptance not rejection. Failings and all. Accepted. I like the sound of the word.”

 

9 Comments so far ↓

  1. Pam says:

    Lewistown is Dick’s 12th pastoral assignment. Some were very short; some very long. But at each one, we learned valuable lessons–about ourselves, about others, about life, and most importantly, about God. Like you, we wouldn’t trade this life for the world.

  2. Ryan S. says:

    I have come to realize that if I am fully accepted by man… I probably am not doing something right. That being said, I don’t think I have to “do” anything to be accepted by God… He just accepts me as I am.

    I finished the 2nd chapter of In the Shadow of Grace yesterday morning and provided some thoughts here:

    https://blogger.reflectingthelight.org/2019/01/rejection-vs-acceptance.html

    I can see how legalism and the rules of men within the church could edge some people right out of the church… I think there is a bit of legalism in everyone… even those who say come as you are…

    I may not say it, but my attitude and conversation could very well alienate those who have a more strict set of “rules” they live by.

    Good thoughts this morning Bill…
    Personally… I am glad you made it to Spencer as well… I enjoy our friendship.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I totally agree with your very first statement Ryan. No one doing God’s work God’s way can be totally accepted by man. I don’t doubt your statement about legalism either. I would agree. Thanks for your friendship also.

  3. I hope we can all say what you have, Bill, as we look back on our life: “I wouldn’t want it any other way.” God is in it all, good and bad, success and failure, loving us in spite of ourselves.
    Blessings!

  4. Glynn says:

    I think this is why wisdom is usually associated with age. Or it may be more a function of experience. We can look back — and our line of sight is more clear. When we’re in the thick of things, it’s more difficult to see purpose and direction.

  5. floyd samons says:

    It’s a wise person that sees His hand in their life. It is His wisdom that you allow to guide you, brother. Good example to follow…