For 33 consecutive years during my ministry with the Belton Church of Christ the first Sunday evening in October was devoted to a lesson from 2 Timothy 4:21 in which the Apostle Paul, a prisoner in Rome, urgently requested that his former co-worker Timothy come from Ephesus to be with him in his last days on earth. In the very early years of the tradition, once the lesson appeared a few Sundays late, when I tried to abandon the series.
When it did not happen at the usual time, the strong voice of Elder Alton Martin was heard asking, “When do we get ‘Come Before Winter’ this year?” I meekly replied, “How about next Sunday?”
There have been a few sporadic revivals of the tradition in Belton during these ten years of my retirement. This year my former youth minister and associate who worked with me for some 15 years, Allen Ritchie, now the minister of the Church of Christ in Lake Jackson, summoned me to bring the tradition to his congregation last Sunday, October 6.
A great deal of preparation and publicity preceded the event, and a large crowd was on hand. It brought great joy to my heart to again work with Allen whom I considered my son in the faith. The morning service was followed with a fellowship meal and a devotional.
When Allen first called about my coming, I thought he said that there would be an assignment for me Sunday evening. When I asked him about it, he replied, “I’d like for you to lead a couple of songs at the devotional, but after that, there is no assignment. We will go home and watch football, which we did!