June 10, 2008

Remembrance: Rev. Thomas Evans, D.D. (1925-2002)

Father's Day has been a special day for me for as long as I can remember. My father passed on (or up, over, etc.) six years ago. In one of my journals, I've kept (and often referred to) one of his sermon outlines from 1990. The topic of the sermon is decision making. Although my father taught me a well-known and time-tried method of decision making --draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper and list all of the pros and cons--I realize true and honest decision making involves intangibles that cannot always be reduced to words in columns on paper.

There is an intuitive, spiritual dimension to the choices we make and the consequences that follow. I know for sure I don't dare make a major decision without prayer and waiting and listening. It is possible to be certain of God's leading if we ask, wait, and listen. The asking is easy, the waiting is hard, the listening is transformative.

Here's the sermon from 1990:

“Decisions Determine Destinies”
Rev. Thomas Evans, D.D.
Preached Sept. 30, 1990 at Church of Our Father – Baptist, Detroit, Michigan
Text: Hebrews 11:24-26
Decisions are already being made relating to the leadership of the church for the year of 1991. If the wrong decisions are made, not only will the effectiveness of this church be hindered, the church’s work will not reach the height it ought to reach.
Decisions related to leadership determine growth and development.
Leaders must make assessments of present situations and look to the future regarding what is to be done.
Leadership means forward movement. Listen to God as He speaks to His people: “The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying Ye have been long enough in this mount: turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the place nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, in the valleys, the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which I swore unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.” –Deuteronomy. 1: 6-9
God said to Israel: this is decision time. It is now decision time for this church. Look at our world, nation, and city. This is decision time.
Let us look at a passage from the life of Moses and learn some lessons about decision making. Consider these things about this man and his decision making:
First, look at the time when he made the decision: when he had come to years, when he had matured, when he had become great, when he was a man. When the Bible speaks of becoming great, it speaks of wealth, power, and honor (Genesis. 24:35, and 26:12-14). When he had wealth, honor, and power, Moses made a decision to walk away from what Egypt had to offer. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to suffer affliction with the people of God.
You may ask why he refused all that his position of wealth, honor, and power offered. I want to suggest to you two reasons: he realized he was with the wrong people and he realized he had a greater destiny. Moses’ decision was not an easy one. No mature person makes important decisions easily or quickly.
Moses realized he could not remain in the place that was not for him. It is true Egypt offered a lot, but all it offered would decay and be no more.
Second, Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. There are at least two things Moses realized.
The pleasures of Egypt would pass away. Its pleasure would be short-lived. Care not only for what is today, but care for what will come after today.
Also, Moses realized the people of God will endure. Time will pass, but God and His people will go on living.
Make the right decision and things will work out for you. Your name may not be written in lights along the pathway of life in this world, but your name will be written in heaven. Remember: it was by faith that Moses forsook the riches of Egypt. It was by faith that Moses cast his lot with the people of God.
God rewards those who cast their lots with Him.

1 comment:

Dr. Echol Nix said...

Dear Mrs. Evans,

Many thanks for your article about your father, Rev. Dr. Thomas Evans. I well remember his sermons during revival meetings at Pilgrim Baptist Church, Ramer, Alabama. He was an inspiration to me and we often chatted on my return visits from Morehouse College and Vanderbilt Divinity School. I contacted Church of Our Father several times to locate sermons and was unsuccessful. Will you please contact me at echol.nix@furman.edu for a conversation. Best wishes and Season's Greetings!