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The Plaque On The Mantel

What will you do today that will still be making a difference 40 years from now?

Last week Trinity Christian students enjoyed our annual High School Retreat. A much anticipated event, it’s proven to be an excellent way to start the school year. Setting direction, developing relationships and going deep with God.

After an unfortunate bed bug incident at last year’s retreat, we went in search of a new venue and found a fine one in the Plains Baptist Camp & Retreat Center, Floydada, TX. The camp is well suited to our needs, including a ropes course for team building exercises. The staff at Plains Baptist couldn’t have been more kind, hard working and hospitable. When the discussion rolls around as to where we’ll be holding next year’s retreat, I’m thinking it will be a short meeting. Our experience here was excellent in every way.

IMG_0113One morning during breakfast amid the din of a couple hundred teenagers, I looked around the dining hall. In the far corner sits an old chuckwagon next to the large fireplace. On the mantel above, leaning against the stone is a copper colored plaque. A long ago tribute to people who, in some form or fashion, made the building possible. This one dates back to 1973 and acknowledges individuals and churches who donated more than $250 toward the construction cost of the dining hall.

That’s back when $250 was $250. As a kid in 1973, my only frame of economic reference was that a piece of Bazooka bubble gum cost a penny. Considering the average monthly income in the United States that year was $1,075, a $250 gift was no small amount.

I took a moment to read the names. Inscribed right in the middle are “Mr. & Mrs. Doodle Milton”  and “Mr. & Mrs. Thumper Morgan.”

Any guys named “Doodle” and “Thumper” sound like guys I’d like to know.

It’s safe to say that most of the individuals whose names are engraved on this plaque are gone now. Even safer to say that the thousands of campers who have since and someday will drink their morning coffee in this building will never bother to look at the plaque. IMG_0114

Yet without these folks, this building wouldn’t be here.

Looking around the room at our Trinity students talking and cutting up as they eat their eggs and sausage, it makes me wonder. Since 1973, how many conversations about life and God have been had under this roof? How many prayers have been offered up? How much lemonade and iced tea has been spilled on this tile floor? How many friendships were forged on these metal folding chairs?

I know Baptists aren’t supposed to wager, but isn’t it a safe bet that at least a few people met the love of their life in this building? That hot dog lunch in July when the 16-year old boy from Tahoka spotted the ponytail girl from Tulia and suddenly church camp wasn’t such a bad place to be?

The men and women whose names are inscribed on this plaque probably didn’t give much thought beyond the entry in their checkbook. Yet the building is here because of people like Noodle and Thumper. People who were busy walking in the good works God had prepared for them to do (Ephesians 2:10). Works that included doing their part to construct a dining hall at a church camp in Floydada, TX, a place 99.999999% of the world has never heard of.

Yet in God’s economy, faithfulness trumps fame every time.

What will you do today that will still be making a difference 40 years from now? Whatever it is, when you purpose to be a blessing, it always ripples further out than you will ever know.

Here’s a shout out to Noodle and Thumper and the rest of the folks on that plaque. Thanks to y’all, about 300 Trinity Christian students and staff got to eat, drink, laugh and talk about God under the roof you provided 43 years ago.

I know Baptists aren’t supposed to wager, but I bet God’s proud of you.

“For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He has prepared in advance for us to do.” 

– Ephesians 2:10

Todd A. Thompson –

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