Stepping away for a bit

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019

By Thurman Hayes

For the past few years, it has been an incredible blessing to write this column. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and I enjoy communicating the good news of Jesus Christ. This column has given me the opportunity to do both.

However, after four or five years, I feel that it is time to step away. My reason is totally about the time commitment. I try to pour myself into each column I write, but as a busy pastor, that’s become increasingly difficult to do. So, at least for a while, I’m going to step back and give others a chance to write.

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I am so thankful for regular readers of this column. You all have been super encouraging to me. Hardly a week goes by without one of you thanking me for something I’ve written. If anything I’ve said has blessed you, then that’s an enormous blessing to me.

I’m also thankful for the two editors I’ve worked with, Tracy Agnew and Res Spears. Both were terrific. They gave me total freedom and were wonderful in every way.

I’m also thankful for the people of my church, First Baptist Church of Suffolk. They were supportive of the column from the very beginning, and have continued to be.

But it is time to create just a little bit more margin in my life. Years ago, I was in London, down in the “Tube” — British for “subway.” A recorded voice would periodically call out to those of us who were waiting to board the train. The voice said, “Mind the gap.”

At first, my American mind didn’t have a clue what the voice meant. Eventually, I figured it out. It was British for, “Don’t get too close to the edge of the tracks.” In other words, maintain some “margin.”

That’s what I’m doing — trying to carve out a little more margin for my time with God, my family and my church family. At some point, maybe I’ll have the margin to write a column once again.

In the meantime, I’ll see many of you around. Feel free to follow me on Facebook or Twitter — I try to post encouraging things there, or repost things from others. If you don’t have a church family, you are always welcome at FBC-Suffolk. Come see us. We have a group of people with open arms of love. Also, all my sermons are available on our church website, and also through our weekly podcast, which will download them directly to your phone.

Above all, remember this: You can forget everything else I’ve said in this column through the years, but always remember this one thing: God loves you so much he sent His Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). The “whoever” can be you — just turn to Jesus and trust in him.

God bless you, my friends. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).


Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.