When I got done reading the biblical book of Esther a few months ago, I asked myself the question, “What people has God strategically put into my life?” Esther found herself in just the right place at just the right time to save her people. It wasn’t a coincidence. It was a God thing. Who else has been in the right place at the right time for me?
I’m stretching my memory here, but the first person that shows up on my radar is my eighth grade Algebra teacher, Mrs. Flaig. She was the first teacher who awakened my love for math and recognized my aptitude for that subject. She was tough but one of my favorite teachers ever. Mrs. Miller was like that, too. She taught my high school Algebra 2 and Calculus classes, always emphasizing “good mathematics!”
Then there are those who brought me along musically. Bonnie Strang taught me to play the trumpet in elementary through high school. My friend Gary Lefkowitz taught me to play guitar in college. An organist and choir director, Diane Allwein, let me play all kinds of sacred music on the trumpet at Luther Memorial Church in Tinton Falls, NJ, and gave me my first real experience in choral music. Rev. Richard Resch greatly expanded both my trumpet and choral music experiences while at the seminary.
A few pastors were in the right place at the right time, too. Pastor Don Sallach who told me at age thirteen, “You should think about being a pastor.” I never did, though, til I was twenty-six. Pastor Don Biggs in New Jersey who let me get very involved with music and youth work when I was new to the his church. Pastor Paul Harris, then a vicar in Austin, TX, who directed me towards seminary study. Pastor Dave Mulder, president of the New England District, ordained me and installed me at my first parish in Coventry, CT. He was a source of amazing encouragement in my first few years of ministry.
To this day, I still love math, music and ministry, no doubt because God had placed many of these people in my life “for such a time as this!”