The other day we had the coolest experience. My husband was privileged to baptize an 80-year-old man who had recently given his life to Christ. It is always amazing to see someone’s life be changed in this way, but even more amazing to see the change in someone so firmly set in their ways.
We had the baptism on a Tuesday morning, outside our regular service times, since Mr. Red was nervous about falling or making people wait for him to climb in and out of the water. He showed up that morning and made quite an impact. Here are three things I learned from Mr. Red that morning.
1. He brought his grown daughter with him and she kept talking to us about how she didn’t understand why her dad insisted on being baptized at his age. She tried to remind him that he was just fine without this decision: “Dad, remember? You were raised in church.” To which he replied: “That don’t mean nothin’.” I wish more people were aware of that fact.
2. As Mr. Red stepped down into the baptismal water I noticed the t-shirt he had chosen to wear said: You mess with me, you mess with the whole trailer park.” After suppressing a giggle, I rejoiced in the fact that a man who would wear a shirt like that would probably have the same attitude about church. I know that he will stand with my husband and I no matter what now. He will speak well of our church and defend her against those who would do otherwise. And he will expect us to do the same for him. Baptism is an important expression of our faith in Christ, but it is also a way of identifying with the body of Christ. In essence it’s making the statement to the enemy: You mess with me, you mess with the whole Church!
3. After coming out of the water and changing clothes he asked my husband what he needed to do now. We gave him a large-print Bible and showed him where to start reading. He also asked if he could move from his usual seat in the back to sit in the front during Sunday morning services. He said that he can’t hear in the back and that he was tired of just sitting through the service without it meaning anything to him. What a great attitude! Just goes to show that you’re never too old to be changed by Christ!