Picture This

Derek Thomas

One of our favorite places to go each year is Michigan. Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary holds an annual conference at Calvin College around the theme of “The Beauty and Glory of. . .” This year it was The Beauty and Glory of the Christian Worldview. Theologians and pastors fill three days with numerous sessions on various biblical themes. This year the keynote speaker was Dr. Derek Thomas. Although Dr. Thomas said many profound things over the course of three days, his story about an elderly woman named Madge has stuck with me. I actually misplaced my notes from this session and thought the story was lost to me forever, at least in accurate detail, but then I found them under the seat of our car. 🙂

When Dr. Thomas was first ordained to the ministry, he spent Thursday afternoons visiting with some elderly women who were members of his church. The women, who were sisters, loved the church. On one particular visit, Thomas was feeling sorry for himself owing to the difficulties of the ministry and the people with whom he had to deal. Thomas vented his frustration openly to the women.

One of the sisters, Miss Madge, responded quickly with these words: “Young man, see no one in the picture but Jesus!”

At first, Thomas didn’t take Madge’s words seriously, but then as he thought more about them, he realized how profound her shared wisdom was for him in this simple statement.

Thomas went on to say that after all these years of being in the ministry, the words of Madge come back to him every day. He closed the session by describing Madge’s words as a simple expression of our worldview: See no one in the picture but Jesus.




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