Thursday, May 01, 2008


When I was a young man, still in High School, I had a mentor who discipled me and taught me a lot about hearing God's voice, teaching the Word of God, and following Jesus.

His name was Bud McGriff and he was the music pastor at the small Southern Baptist Church my family attended in El Paso, Texas.

It was largely because of Bud that I felt compelled to enter the ministry, and eventually I was even licensed and ordained by this church as young man of just 22 years of age.

I have two special gifts that Bud gave to me. One was a leather-bound hymnal which he bought and gave to me with a special note scribbled inside on the front cover. I was always singing, and I loved music. When Bud died I became the music pastor at this same church. Standing in his place was intimidating in some ways, but it also gave me a sense of the responsibility I was being given to lead others in worship, as he had done.

One night, after Bud had taught a youth Bible study in our house, he took me aside and privately informed me that God had shown him what the calling on my life was going to be. I nearly begged him to share it with me but he felt, at the time, that I wasn't ready for this news.

A few weeks later Bud had died.

I remember singing at his funeral, a song he had loved called "Walk With Me". It took all the strength I had to stand there and sing this song without breaking into tears. The room was full of students who had been his students at the local junior high school. I didn't know any of those kids, but I knew they knew Bud, and that he had touched their lives even as he had touched mine.

The second gift that Bud gave to me was a simple, laminated square book mark. Next to a crudely painted flower were the words, "Bloom Where You Are Planted".

I still have that little card in my Bible. Often I will take it out and hold it, remembering Bud's encouragement to me, his faith in me, his investment in my spiritual development, and sometimes I just smile.

It used to really disappoint me that Bud had never told me what God had revealed to him about my calling. How many times would I have loved to know whether to pursue my music, or my writing, or preaching, or ministry to the poor, or...whatever?

Whenever I hold that bookmark and read those words, I realize that Bud really did tell me what God's calling on my life was: "Bloom Where You Are Planted".

It's good advice, isn't it?


1 comment:

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Keith ~ Thank you for sharing a peice of your life & walk, it's so encouraging. I so agree (bloom where you are at), those words do speak volumes! Love in Christ, D & H Cosby