Fifty years is a long time for many things, including having a solid marriage and running a successful business where the president himself is not above fixing sewer lines.
Tonight, Summit folks spent the evening talking about how much Doc and Mrs. Noebel mean to us, and the un-imagined impact their service, wisdom, grace, knowledge, and kindness have had on thousands and thousands of persons. Just today I heard at least two people say that they came to know Jesus because of Summit, and dozens more met their spouses somehow through Summit. I think several thousand persons can easily say that Summit has helped them learn how to be a thinking Christian, one who can reason through why they believe and behave the way they do.
God could have used anyone to accomplish this purpose, if that 'anyone' were willing, humble, and self-sacrificing. The truth is, the LORD knew that Doc needed a dedicated, disciplined, servant-hearted, kind, gracious wife to support him. God knew that the right man to begin Summit was one who was witty, intelligent, humble, soft-hearted and tough-minded, and who was willing to do every job at a 100 year old hotel in quirky Manitou Springs.
When I think how many hundreds of people would gladly come clean toilets here just to be in and around the Summit community, my perspective about my job shifts. I am incredibly blessed to work for Summit. I would not be who I am today if I had not attended the two-week course, Summit Semester, and Summit Oxford. Nor would I have daily lessons in humility if I did not labour alongside persons who really care about one another -- both at work and personally.
Due to my time at Summit I am a better thinker, a more well-rounded reader, and I have known the love and discipline of Christ in ways I had no capacity to experience before. I have been stretched out of my comfort zone, been challenged to do hard things, and been given opportunities to study, travel, and know more that I thought possible. I have met my best friends and kindred spirits through Summit. In fact, I have had more than just three or four very close friends in my very brief lifetime, all because of Summit.
Doc and Mrs. Noebel, Rich and Sherry Honken, Jeff and Danielle Myers, and the whole group of staff (past and present) continually show me what servant-hearted leadership is. Because of Summit I know Jesus more - and I love Jesus more. I am who I am because God led me to Summit Ministries. I am one of so many who can say that... Because Summit is not about whoever is at the helm; it is, at its core, about knowing Jesus (with both our head and our heart), and sharing His love with others.
Tonight's jubilee was golden not only because Summit is fifty years old, but because there is a golden richness to all that God has done through Summit. When most of our culture is not thinking beyond tomorrow, those whom God has called to lead the Summit are thinking about the next fifty years and impacting multiple generations after that.
May the LORD be glorified and His name be lifted high because of what is done here. "The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY."
(Special thanks to Lauren and Nicole for doing my hair, to Lyndi for the mascara loan, and to Stacia for lending me lip gloss for the evening gala. It was a full roommate collaboration - success!)