When I was in school in Knoxville, TN I had the distinct honor and privilege to attend a church which was pastored by one of the greatest men I knew for a short period of time. His name was Dr. Dana Mathewson. Dana was full of joy and shared it with anyone he came in contact with. He was one of the people you just wanted to be around and who made you better by being around him. He was obedient and continued to be regardless of the level of understanding that God gave him.
10 years ago, almost to the day (September 26, 2005), Dana was killed in an automobile accident. He was only 47 years old and I along with many other believed he was in the height of his ministry and pastorship of the church. I was confident that God had plenty more in store for him.
Dana knew differently though. He spoke towards the end of his life about being obedient to God. He had heard from God about preparing the way for those that were to come after him. He heard that he was going to prepare the church and others for a time when he wouldn’t be there. Now our human minds would think that meant something like he was moving churches or moving cities. But Dana didn’t worry about what it looked like in the natural, he was solely focused on being obedient to God’s words and vision for his life.
I was in Knoxville, TN this past weekend for my cousin’s wedding. On Sunday, after all the festivities, I decided to drive around and reminisce a little about my time in college. I remembered our church at the time (Buffat Heights Baptist) that Dana was pastoring was in the process of purchasing land to build a new building. Pastor Dana was at the forefront of finding and purchasing the land in 2003. I drove past the land this week to see what it looked like. I saw the new Buffat Heights Baptist Church which had been built and serving the community since 2008. It gave my heart joy knowing that Dana’s obedience in preparing the way for the future was rewarded through this church building and what comes out of it.
So what is the point of this story? Dana’s life should teach us a very important principle. God knows what is best for us, and while we may think His plan is one thing, it may be something completely different and maybe even something we would try and run away from if He told us every detail. I am confident that Dana’s human side would have not wanted to leave his wife and children at such a young age. But he didn’t seek after what the plan was, he simply followed Gods instructions as they came to him.
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”
So…just like Dana did, don’t focus on what the natural looks like, focus on obeying Gods instructions to the best of your ability. Romans tells us that our obedience can make MANY righteous. Dana’s obedience continues to impact those in Knoxville through the new church. Follow Dana’s lead…be obedient!