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One Silent Minute

While giving the commencement address at Dartmouth College, Fred Rogers offered those who were gathered the "gift of a silent minute:"

I’d like to give you all an invisible gift. A gift of a silent minute to think about those who have helped you become who you are today. Some of them may be here right now. Some may be far away. Some, like my astronomy professor, may even be in heaven. But wherever they are, if they’ve loved you, and encouraged you, and wanted what was best in life for you, they’re right inside your self. And I feel that you deserve quiet time, on this special occasion, to devote some thought to them. So, let’s just take a minute, in honor of those that have cared about us all along the way. One silent minute...

As I sit here at the center, I take a silent minute of my own to think of those preachers and ministers who have shaped my life. I think of my father, Victor S. Lyons, and his wonderful sermons on heaven and captivating stories from history. I think of my grandfather, Ray Shelton, whose service overseas during World War II eventually led him to become a long-term missionary in Uruguay; my Great-grandpa Bryant, a, tough, wiry preacher who loved his family and the Lord; my Grandpa Lyons, a hard-working preacher who also served as a sawmill owner in Pilot Mountain. I think of those ministers who have supported and influenced me over the years: Phil Bryant, Taylor Sandlin, Todd Still, Eric Moore, James Bartley, Tim Randolph, Hulitt Gloer, Joel Gregory, Dennis Wiles, Mike Toby, Greg Strickland, Tom Weaver, Greg Waddell, Danny Barulli, Daniel Richardson, Tim Viner, Larry Griffin, Archie Talflinger, on and on the list goes...

I take a silent minute to think back on those who have shaped my life, and I look ahead to those whose lives I hope to shape. Whether looking back at my past or looking forward to the future, I am grateful. Paul says it best, "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now" (Phil.1:3-5).

Every once in a while, take a silent, meaningful minute to think of those preachers, Sunday School teachers, family members, and friends who have shaped your life. Who would you include in that list of people who have loved you, encouraged you, and helped you understand the love of God?

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