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Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 038: Things to Remember

It's Just Me Again No. 038: Things to Remember
Is Chuck Hinman your favorite Sunday with CM columnist, as many tell us? If so, we hope you'll drop him a line by email. Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at: charles.hinman@sbcglobal.net

by Chuck Hinman

As you might guess it is difficult to write on a subject like this without appearing to call undue attention to yourself. Nevertheless, it is a required writing subject of this club and I will take a crack at it and let the chips fall, criticism, chiding or more likely, dead silence.


When I have for some reason, been allowed to occupy space in this world for going on 84 years, it would seem a waste if I didn't leave some tracks that can be traced specifically to me, Chuck Hinman, tracks that hopefully commend me, not embarrass me.

I am a firm believer in the message of the very popular book of the day, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Long before that book hit the bookstores, I believed that I am in this world by Intelligent Design (a much used word with different meanings to all) the designer of Chuck Hinman being God. And going a step further, I am convinced that my designer and creator God didn't just stick me here to flounder. I look back and see how God has had his hand on my life and equipped me for what he had in mind. No regrets.

Chuck Hinman came into this life with "Operating Instructions" - the Bible. The Bible makes it clear that as a born-again Christian, I am equipped with specific spiritual gift/gifts. They are identified by name in Romans 12:6-8. It is clear that it was never intended that I be left in the dark as to what my gift/s is/are. He intended that I use the gifts under his guidance.

Over the years, I have felt that my recognizable gift has been Teaching. It is spelled out in Romans 12:7. In keeping with the subject of this writing assignment that I set out what I would like to be remember by, I feel certain the Lord enabled me to teach by equipping me in this way.

When I came to know the Lord as my Savior, I was going to a Bible Study Class in the early 1960's. It met in the YMCA building in downtown Bartlesville, Oklahoma and it was taught by Paul Locke, now deceased. He was the owner of the Paul Locke Advertising Agency, a successful advertising firm in Tulsa. Paul was a gifted Bible teacher and he chose to pursue this interest in Home Bible Studies conducted in Bartlesville and Tulsa. In the 1960's when he was coming to Bartlesville, he discipled me in a close study of the Bible for which I am eternally grateful.

I was a long time member together with my wife Connie, of that Bible Class, first taught by Paul Locke, and over a lifetime by Charles and Eddie Johnstone in their home and more recently by our good friend Rev. Chuck McCarthy. From the basic Bible teaching provided by these classes and my own separate study, I was equipped to teach by the Lord. I in fact taught Sunday School classes and Training Union classes over the complete age span of our church members for forty some years. Thank you Lord for not only calling but equipping me.

Then after my wife Connie developed full blown Alzheimer's Disease it seemed the Lord quit using me as a Teacher. I became a full time caregiver and later advocate for her rights in the nursing home where she spent her last days. Since the bulk of my time was spent caring for Connie, I was apprehensive that I was shirking my teaching gift. I wondered if I was put on a shelf by the Lord. For several years and in the middle of Connie's being in the throes of Alzheimer's Disease, I realized I did not have one identifiable function in the church. But through people's comments about my unusual attentive care to my wife's need and how it spoke to them of faithfulness in a Christian marriage, I began to feel that this was by intentional design of God. So I became a whole-hearted full time caregiver for Connie.

For the first time as I read the Bible I began to wonder if God was enabling me with the gift of "mercy." It is mentioned in Romans 12:8. What I was doing as a good caregiver seemed to fit the description of the gift. Because it became natural and not something I was doing because of dire straits, I began to notice that God was clearly and unmistakably IN my care giving, so much, I quit fretting about not being used as a teacher.

Now to draw this writing assignment together and to a conclusion.

I would like to be remembered by God after he called me (Ephesians 2:8-9) as having been obedient to his calling, equipping and using me as a teacher in the church for more than 35 years. Then in a clear calling as a caregiver for my wife, I would like to be remembered as a skilled caregiver for Connie for more than 15 years.

Now some of my long time friends who remember me because of my musical skills and more recently by my writing skills may say, "Oh Chuck, people all over this area will remember you for these." I don't argue with them but I have always considered these as "hobby gifts," things that add the frosting to life. Don't get me wrong, I point to God as athletes do, when I am complimented and thanked for my musical and writing skills.

In conclusion, I was apprehensive when the Lord took Connie home to be with Him, my care giving gift that I was exercising with cheerfulness disappeared suddenly and I became curious if my work on the earth was closing out. Since I am totally absorbed in writing, and I am not sure how that fits God's plans for my remaining days, I want to be sure that my writings are God-honoring. Written by Chuck Hinman


This story was posted on 2011-04-10 11:41:33
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