The year was about 1981. The place was Woodlake Assembly of God church, Tulsa, Oklahoma. The evening’s speaker was Rev. Dan Betzer. Rev. Betzer has one of those voices like James Earl Jones. He was an anchorman in Buffalo, NY. I believe he mentioned, where he confessed to not being able to say, “hypodermic needle”. He said no matter how hard he tried it always came out as, “hypodemic nerdle”. He was also the voice of an Assembly of God radio program for many years. He is currently a pastor in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Rev. Betzer delivered a dynamic message that I remember in detail some 41 years later. Yeah, it was that good, inspiring, powerful, and truthful. Perhaps one of these days I’ll post it. But only a portion of it do I want to share now:
A young man became the new associate pastor of a thriving church. On his first Sunday morning, he stood on the platform next to the pastor staring at the standing congregation. The sound of small conversations could be heard. Nervously he leaned over and asked the pastor, “What are we waiting on?” The pastor leaned back and whispered, “The organist.” “Where are they?” he asked. “She’s late. She’s always late.”
A few minutes later a side door of the sanctuary flung open and in walked a large woman dangling keys. She dramatically flipped her dress and proceeded to the organ used one of the keys to unlock it and then turned it on. Everyone heard the old organ warm-up and then she nodded to the worship leader who then led the congregation in that day’s selection of hymns.
The next morning after the pastor went over some announcements in their staff meeting the new associate pastor brought up the situation of the late organist. “Why do you put up with that?” he asked. “Because she is the only one who has a key to the organ,” replied the pastor. “Well, why don’t you ask her for it?” The pastor looked at the young naïve man and said, “You’re the new pastor here, you ask her!”
Seeing no harm in asking for the key to the organ he phoned the woman and made an appointment to visit her at her home. He informed her he desired to meet with each person in the church to get to know them.
After he arrived, he settled in and started his chit-chat while drinking some tea and eating one of the freshly baked cookies she had made for the occasion. Then he made his move and asked her for the key to the organ so they could have someone show up on time and have the organ warmed up and ready for the morning worship service. “What? No way! I will not turn over that key to you, the pastor, or anyone else! You see my family donated that organ and I have been the only one to play it for the past 35 years! Now I am going to have to ask you to leave!” demanded the woman. “But I haven’t finished my cookie,” the now a little older associate pastor replied. “GET OUT!” she shouted.
The following Sunday morning the organist showed up ten minutes late as was her custom but when she flung the door to the sanctuary open she heard the congregation in the middle of a glorious hymn and she saw someone else playing the organ. She was outraged. After the service, she bee-lined it to the new associate pastor. “How dare you! How dare you have someone else play the very organ that my family donated. And how in the world did you get it unlocked, anyway? I didn’t give you the key!” The associate pastor looked at her, smiled, and said, “Ma’am, there isn’t anything that God and a crowbar can’t accomplish!”
Yes, those listening to Rev. Betzer laughed as you probably are now, but he went on:
You see that organist will stand before God one day and He will ask her, “While you were on earth what did you do for me?” She will most likely say, “Well, you see God, I faithfully played the organ, which my family so generously donated, for thirty-five years!” God will no doubt look intently at her and ask, “Why?”
What is your motivation for serving God? Are you doing it for the right reasons? Do you have the right attitude to go along with that motivation? I hope so. If after searching your heart and being honest with yourself, if there is any reason other than the right ones, then I hope you correct them, or at least be willing to give up the key.
(Thank you, Rev. Betzer, for your faithfulness to God for over 60 years of ministry. God used you to make an impact on me when I was a young, naïve associate pastor.)
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