It was a rainy, soggy day, and I was on my way to drop my kids off at school. I noticed a car that had slid off the side of the road and appeared to be stuck. I reasoned that someone was probably on their way to help.
On my way back home, I noticed that the car was still there, and a young lady was sitting behind the wheel. “She probably has called someone,” I thought as I passed by. “I’m sure they will be here to help her soon.”
Feeling very convicted for passing her again, I turned around and went to see if I could help. The car was stuck in mud up to the axle. I tried to push it out and to drive it out, but it was impossible. So I prayed this short prayer: “Lord, I can’t do this alone. I need some help if I’m going to get this lady out.”
Within 60 seconds of that prayer, four people pulled up to help. We all tried to push the car out, but it wasn’t budging. One man said, “I’ve got a four-wheel drive, but I don’t have a hitch.” Another man said, “I’ve got a hitch on my truck that I think will fit yours.” A third man said, “I’ve got a chain.” I stepped back and watched two men get down in the mud and water and work for about five minutes to get the chain hooked to the car. Then they slowly pulled her out of the muddy mess and back onto the road. None of us could have gotten her out by ourselves, but when we united together, we were able to make a difference.
I stood there in amazement, thinking about the power of the first move. All I did was decide to do what I could to help this young lady. I made the first move to change things. And then I prayed for God to help me do what I couldn’t do. I don’t know if I have ever seen a prayer answered so quickly or so clearly.
I’m asking South Carolina Baptists to live out a similar story this year. Many of our churches across the state are stuck. Once again, I am praying a simple prayer: “Lord, I can’t do this alone. I need some help if we are going to make a difference in this state.” Already, I am starting to see God answer that prayer!
I learned a valuable lesson as I stood in the rain many years ago. Making the first move is not about having all the answers, it’s about being a catalyst to help someone. Others join us when they see us do what they know needs to be done.
The theme I’ve chosen to guide us is one word: “Unite.” None of us can make much of a difference by ourselves, but when we unite together, we get to watch God do a miracle! I look forward to working with you in 2017 and hearing the miraculous stories of what God does through you and your church.
— Keith Shorter is pastor of Mt. Airy Baptist Church in Easley and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.