• Jill Jarrell Newsome

It Was Time

I sat down with my new friend, Luther, to get his story. I had one question for him. But first we just chatted. It took less than five minutes to see how much Luther loves his wife (of 60 years) and four children. As he said, he has a “sterling family!” The second thing I heard over and over was, “please don’t make this about me. I am not special. I am just another brick in the wall.”


Luther gave me some background information. He was born in the rural south during WWII and does not remember going to church as a small child. At seven years old he attended the Catholic church with his friends in Indiana. Later he married his high school sweetheart, Sharon, who was Catholic. He always planned on being baptized in the Catholic church.

Luther shared many stories where God was there. One such story was when Luther was 29 and not happy in his job. He went back to school to be a professor and hoped to one day live near the ocean. Six months before Luther got his doctorate, he had an interview with a team in TN but he was late due to a flight delay. He knew he would never get the job. The president waited for him and the president did 99% of the talking and then offered Luther the job. Luther said it made no sense except God had poured His favor on him. In 1983 God brought Luther and Sharon to UNCW - to the ocean! Eventually all four of his children followed.


Luther and his wife decided to leave the Catholic church. “Mainly because their mortality was catching up with them,” they were looking at protestant churches. They were both experiencing some ill health and finding themselves in the pit. Luther has been through four years of horrific medical issues with seven doctors telling him nothing was wrong, misdiagnosis, diagnosis and many surgeries. While telling this, he said it was a blessing that he was not sick during his income making years.


My question was why did you get baptized at 79 years old? Luther’s answer was, “because it was time!” Luther and his wife had friends here at church and they decided to visit. That day when they came out of church they felt spiritually refreshed. All through our visit, Luther would look at all of the pieces of his life and realize God was there all the while, putting it all together - even when he did not see it. Even when he did not feel it. God was working. Luther wanted to make a commitment through baptism. He had known Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior but life got busy and he never made the commitment. He said the years had just passed. Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Life is fleeting, like a passing mist.” Now it was time. Sharon told him how comforting it was for his children to see their father baptized.


Luther was an Economics professor for 43 years. He said everything must come to an end and he knew it was time. He was approved as a Professor Emeritus which seems to mean that you still get all of the perks - “a pat on the back” as he said. I sum it up as hearing the board tell you, “good and faithful professor.” While that is a big deal, the bigger deal is that Luther can l hear Jesus say, “good and faithful servant.” At 79 years old Luther was baptized here at PVUMC! And his sterling family was there to witness.


As I told Luther, he was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is NOT just another brick in the wall! He is a child of the King of Kings and that makes him very, very special! 1 John 3: 1, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”


As Luther said, “Every step of the way is more than a coincidence. I know that now in talking with you.” I challenge you to sit back and look at your story - we all have one. You will be amazed at how God has been working in your life! Jeremiah 29: 11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Luther said, “I want to stress - if you are not baptized and you believe in Jesus Christ you have to make that commitment.” Psalm 39: 4, “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” Luther is right. Life is fleeting and it is time to make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior!

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