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When Esther Got Baptized

An old African-American and Caribbean chorus is floating around the world just now:

    Take me to the waters;
                 Take me to the waters;
                 Take me to the waters—
                 To be baptized.

From Ankara to Anchorage and Manaus to Mombasa, it’s an invitation being voiced hundreds of times a day by men and women joining this remnant people of God. In ponds still choked with winter ice, and in muddy jungle rivers where the onlookers sometimes include the crocodiles, nearly 3,000 people a day are sealing a covenant with Jesus and His end-time church through baptism. The gains of Pentecost are repeating every day.

That gentle continuous “splash” you hear around the Adventist world is the sound of someone being immersed every 30 seconds—“in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Those wet footprints down the aisle of the church were made by one of more than a million new believers who joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the past 12 months.

But how are we doing at welcoming our new brothers and sisters? Are we making room for them at the family table, including them in our “life together”? Do they know that they are precious to the Lord—and to us? When did they last feel a hand of kindness on the shoulder or hear us praying for them? Do they find us quick to forgive, eager to encourage, slow to criticize?

Their needs are not complex, and their hopes not difficult to satisfy. They need what young lives always need: kindness, food, and clothing. Wrap them in the garments of praise. Feed them with the manna you are finding in the Word. Listen to their griefs, their struggles, and their triumphs.

Renew your own baptismal vows by making a covenant with the newest among us. Pledge that you will not let another Sabbath pass without blessing the life of someone who has recently waded in the waters. You have surely come to the kingdom for such a time—and such a task—as this.