An Encourager Named Darrin

From time-to-time I am drawn back to this account of a special experience, the memory of which has been a great encouragement to me for more than 20 years.

As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed an oversized envelope protruding from the mailbox on the side of the church building. Even though it was fairly obvious, it barely caught my attention. You see, at that moment, my mind was a million miles away.

Although it has been more than two decades since this day, my memory of this incident is clear. As I approached the mailbox, I was engrossed in thought. I was attempting to sort through a number of questions which weighed heavily on my mind. I was also pouring my heart out to God in prayer.

I was working with a relatively young congregation that was experiencing some growing pains. At the same time, a couple of chances to pursue other ministry opportunities had come my way. To further complicate things, I had also been contemplating the possibility of making a career change.

Like I said, I was completely preoccupied as I turned off the busy street on to the long driveway to the church parking lot. I pulled along side the building and retrieved the day’s mail, tossing it on the passenger’s seat of my car. Once I parked in my usual place a few feet away, I picked up the large envelope and looked at the return address.

When I read the sender’s name, I instantly became fully in the moment. I opened the package with great anticipation. It contained a letter and a cassette tape. I soon discovered that I’d received a “thank you” letter the likes of which everyone should be privileged to receive. The tape was queued to play a song that should give you a good idea as to the substance of the letter. When I played it, I heard Ray Boltz’s tribute song entitled Thank You. I’m sure you remember it. The chorus is embedded in my memory:

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave

I first met the young man who sent this letter to me has in 1982. His name is Darrin. He is one of the most sincere followers of Jesus that I have ever known. It was a genuine privilege to share the Gospel with him when he was 12. My life had been blessed a thousand times over by his deep love for and willingness to serve the Lord.

By the time his note arrived in the mail, Darrin had graduated from high school and college. He was serving as a minister and continuing his ministry training. As he matured it became important to him to let me know that he appreciated me taking the time to share Jesus with him that fall afternoon in 1982.

The fact that he took the time to prepare this special gesture of thanks encouraged me like few things ever have. God used him to help me see beyond the struggles of the moment. He also helped me gain a perspective on the things that really matter in life.

The memory of that moment has benefitted me over-and-over ever since. As the Apostle Paul had a blessing from God in the form of an encourager named Onesiphorus when he really encouragement, my encourager was named Darrin. His life of faith and willingness to simply say “thank you” has been a great encouragement to me through the years.

Is there someone in your life who encourages you like this?

Is there someone to whom you need to say “thank you for giving to the Lord” and blessing my life?

May the Lord bless each and every one who reads these lines with a Darrin in your lives.

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Darrin, because he often encourages me.

© Bill Williams
(Revised 2018.06.28)