Enhancing On-going Ministry Through Equipping, Encouraging, and Interceding

Earthly Teamwork Complete

When I was the Baptist Student minister and Bible Instructor at Pan American University (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), Jim Hatley was the Director of Missions for the Magic Valley Baptist Association. In our first visit, he confessed that he was not yet functioning in his job to his full capacity, since his wife, Imogene was still in Arizona, yet to make the move to Texas, since the spring semester of school was not yet completed for their girls. Jim said. “We are a team, and I can’t do my best work without her here with me.” Eventually, Imogene Hatley arrived, and I began to learn what a team looked like. Among other things, she coordinated with the churches, to provide food for the university students during their weekly noon lunch Bible studies. The Hatleys were my early ministry model for teamwork. Years later, when I was the Baptist Student minister at the University of Texas, Jim Hatley was the Director of Missions for the Austin Baptist Association. His wife, again coordinated with the churches to provide food for the noon lunch Bible studies at the Baptist Student Center. Every university student who ate free or inexpensive food, provided by a church, ought to give thanks for the Jim and Gene Hatleys of their world. Ten years ago, I was honored to be asked to preach the sermon for Jim Hatley’s funeral service. During that service, I acknowledged the teamwork of Jim and Imogene Hatley. I said to Mrs. Hatley on that occasion, “After 63 years of marriage, you and Jim are still a team. If he is with Jesus, and Jesus is with you, then Jim is not far away. It will be different, but the team continues.” Today, I will preach the sermon for Mrs. Hatley’s funeral service. Somewhere on the golden streets of heaven, that teamwork is again together, and is now complete. Among the things I do not yet know about heaven, is the type of “service” we will do there. The Bible does indicate in Revelation 7:15; also 22:3 that we will not spend eternity sitting on a cloud, playing a harp, but we will “serve Him day and night” and again, “His servants shall serve Him.” This much I think I do know about heaven, whatever type of activity we have, Jim and Gene Hatley will now be doing it together. I know we are never to hunger in heaven, but if we ever do, I know who will have the food coordinated.

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