Dr. Jim Baldwin
is the Minister to Senior Adults at First Baptist Church. Before coming to First Baptist, he served as the pastor of three churches across North Carolina for 36 years. Jim and his wife ENan returned to Wilmington, his hometown, several years ago to continue his ministry. Jim and ENan share a deep passion and heart for missions and love serving others.
While our California grandchildren (and their parents) were visiting, we tried to find something a little different to do with them. We remembered that they have never been to Hammocks Beach State Park, so we loaded up the cars with picnic and beach supplies and headed east.
If you are not familiar with Hammocks Beach State Park, it is located on a little spit of land called Bear Island between Jacksonville and Swansboro, NC. The only way to get to Bear Island is by boat or by a person-only ferry operated by the NC Ferry System. The state park has a bath house, on-duty life guards and miles and miles of unspoiled beach. The ferry only carries about 25 people and departs once an hour – once every half-hour on weekends. If you miss the last ferry you get to spend a lovely night camping on the island!
I was talking with one of the park rangers that day about how few people were on the beach. He replied, “Yes, we are eastern North Carolina’s best-kept secret. Not too many people know about us and we like to keep it that way. So don’t tell anyone about us.” I understood what he was saying, but is that fair? I mean to know about something that is wonderful and satisfying and not share it with others?
There is a curious story in the Bible about the city of Samaria being surrounded by enemy soldiers. People were starving and times were becoming desperate. A group of lepers, thinking they had nothing to lose, decided to throw themselves on the mercy of the enemy. When they ventured out, they discovered that the enemy had fled and left behind all of their possessions. The lepers gathered up food and clothes and stuff and went back for more. Finally, one of them said, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.” (2 Kings 7:9)
Those of us who have a personal relationship with Jesus have something all of the world needs. We have the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the assurance of eternal life, the confidence of knowing that we are never alone. Wouldn’t it be a shame to keep that to ourselves?
I think we ought to let everyone in on our secret.
By Dr. Jim Baldwin