You may think the land is flat where I live. But, there are places where patient watercourses have carved canyons, revealing beauty below the caprock and forever changing the landscape.
Some people are intentional with the flow of their life. They carve a canyon-like existence into our world. The investment of their lives into us forever changes the landscape among us for the better.
A canyon-making river
Darold H. Morgan passed away Dec. 11 at the age of 95. He was a canyon-maker of a man, an unswerving watercourse.
At 16 years of age, he left the family farm to preach and didn’t stop until he taught his last class the Sunday before he passed away. Dr. Morgan was an exemplary husband and father. Additionally, he was a student, a preacher, a pastor, a teacher, a CEO, a mentor and a friend.
At his memorial service, O.S. Hawkins, president and CEO of Guidestone, praised Dr. Morgan’s steady leadership at the Annuity Board (now Guidestone) during denominational divisions.
Dr. Morgan’s pastor at First Baptist Richardson, Ellis Orozco, proclaimed, “every pastor needs a pastor … and Darold Morgan was my pastor.” The most impactful words came from Dr. Morgan’s son, Tim, who spoke on behalf of his siblings. Tim lauded the transparent authenticity of his father, saying, “The man who pastored and led among you was the same man among us at home.”
How Dr. Morgan shaped me
I humbly add my story to theirs. Forty-five years ago, I was just a kid when I met Dr. Morgan. For him, it was only half a lifetime. Yet over that time, his influence on my life is immeasurable.
He was my pastor, mentor, adviser and friend. I witnessed his exemplary love for his wife and kids. I observed his friendship with my parents. I listened to his guidance and wisdom in ministry. He made my life, my library and my vision greater.
His engagement and encouragement revealed what was below the surface of my life. The landscape of my life forever is changed because of him.
Even more, Dr. Morgan showed me that being part of the connected church matters. I saw how he valued the long-term treasure of the church, not the short-term gains of causes. I learned a viable need for the connected church exists, even if “denominationalism” fades.
There is a biblical example in the apostle Paul of tying the autonomous bodies of Christ into one cooperative body. A few have done well demonstrating that Pauline task, and Dr. Morgan was one such person.
The canyons carved into the landscape of our denomination, our churches and our lives reveal the beautiful consistency of the watercourse of his life’s work.
With Dr. Morgan’s passing, we lost “a stream of water in the dry country.”
I pray God will raise up more canyon-makers. We need them now.
Jay Abernathy is the associate pastor for 50+ adults and pastoral care at First Baptist Church of Lubbock and serves on the Baptist Standard board of directors. The views expressed are those solely of the author.