The Wood Pile

For three decades, Dr. Travis Coleman, Jr., or “Brother Travis” to anyone who knows him, has served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Prattville, AL - a remarkable branch of the Church family of whom I am delighted to be a member. On August 11, 2019 he preached his last sermon while bearing that title. He and his wife, Mrs. Arlinda, have stepped into a new adventure in their Kingdom service, retiring from full-time pastoral ministry. One year prior, Bro. Travis stood before his beloved congregation in full-health and stellar reputation to announce his pending retirement and the corresponding search for the next head of this local body of believers. He shared his years of pondering and prayer. He shared his pursuit of counsel and consults. He shared the details of considerate planning that had already been set in motion. Above all, He demonstrated a plain-spoken confidence that His duty and delight were in pleasing our Heavenly Father and the true Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.

In both 2 Samuel and I Chronicles we read the account of David’s desire to build a temple for the LORD. David was uncomfortable with the fact that he lived in a palace while the meeting place of God remained a simple tent. God told David that He didn’t ask him to build a temple and that He would accomplish that work through David’s son, Solomon, successor to the throne. In 1 Chronicles 17 we read the beautiful worship from the poet-king as He reflected on the promises of God and as he praised God’s faithfulness in fulfilling everything He had spoken. David was confident in the Word of the LORD and He rejoiced in hope at the unseen completion of this monumental task. There would be a magnificent temple, a spectacular structure, a gift of grace to the people of Israel…the likes of which David would never see.

What did David do? Did he pout because it was his idea and he wasn’t going to get to see it through? Did he shoot down the idea in his next committee meeting and tout a new agenda? No, you know what David did? 

He started a wood pile.

At David’s command, materials were gathered and stored, resources were earmarked, and craftsman and laborers were hired. David thoughtfully looked ahead and gave of his wealth and talents to spur on the work of the Lord. David would not be the builder of the temple, but regardless, he would contribute. He would equip. He would undergird. He would encourage. He would serve. 

David was confident that God would accomplish the work that He alone began and that He alone could do. He was not greedy with credit. He was not prideful in his power. He passed on the vision, the legacy, the passion - the “baton” some might say - so that a new runner with fresh legs might finish well.

Godly servants look ahead, they search the Word of God, to do the work of God, in the power of God for the glory of God. 

David prepared for the work to continue and championed the support of the kings to come. His participation was not about his own dreams or abilities, it was about obedience to God and the furthering of His kingdom. Similarly, Bro. Travis willingly stepped away with (proverbial) drawings on the drafting table, supplies in the closet, and tools in the shed. Our out-going pastor prepared for the work to continue and championed the support of the man of God who would don his work gloves and continue the work of the Lord unhindered. Why? Because the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, glorifying His Heavenly Father, and building the Kingdom of God in all nations - that is what matters.

Build when the hammer is in your hand; when it is not, stack the woodpile. 

For the gospel. 

For His glory.

Allison D. Wilks