As a young child I learned the following words, as do so many youth in the Seventh-day Adventist church: “By the grace of God, I will be pure, and kind, and true. I will keep the Pathfinder Law. I will be a servant of God and a friend to man.”
Grace wasn’t even a thought at this time in my life. And as for being a servant of God and a friend to man, I didn’t have a clue what that meant. All I knew was that I enjoyed seeing my friends, going on camp outs at Woodland Acres and Camp Arrowhead, earning honors and doing community service activities.
Isn’t it strange what kids will do to hang out with their friends? Yet there we were, all standing in a line every week in the lower level of the College View Church annex repeating words that we didn’t really understand: The Law is for me to: Keep the morning watch, Do my honest part, Care for my body, Keep a level eye, Be courteous and obedient, Walk softly in the sanctuary, Keep a song in my heart, Go on God’s errand.
Since the tender age of 10 I have never doubted God’s love for me. How clearly I remember sitting in Mrs. Ward’s fourth grade classroom at Helen Hyatt Elementary each day as, after recess, she would read a story to us.
It was during that afternoon story time that I was suddenly aware of God and His presence in my life.
I remember desiring more than anything to be with Jesus in heaven. I wanted to be ready when He came in the clouds of glory.
The story was about a young girl’s experience on earth just before the coming of Jesus. It unfolded with great clarity the strong and clear message of her dedicated love for her Savior and His promises. As I look back I see this as the beginning of my faith journey with Jesus. I didn’t know what was happening to me at the time. I just knew that I loved Jesus.
Stability amidst change
The following year everything at home changed. For many reasons, most of which I did not understand, my parents decided to stop attending church. As a child you don’t question, you just bounce, and my bounce was with my grandparents. Each week as I continued to go to church with them, my love for Jesus grew.
While this dramatic change passed in my life, one constant remained—Pathfinders! I would walk every week to my club meeting down the street from my house. And each week we repeated the Pathfinder Pledge and Law. These words became a part of my heart and mind, and I felt the Holy Spirit growing in my life and teaching me the lessons I would need to serve God personally.
Two years following my experience in Mrs. Ward’s classroom, I decided I wanted to follow Jesus all the days of my life. I wanted to share with everyone my love for Jesus, so I studied to become baptized. It was a Sabbath morning in 1973 when I stepped into the baptistery in the old College View Church in Lincoln, Nebraska and gave my life to Jesus.
For over forty years now I have heard echoes of this amazing wisdom in the words “By the grace of God, I will be pure, and kind, and true. I will keep the Pathfinder Law. I will be a servant of God and a friend to man.”
An ordinary life
Wouldn’t it be nice at this point to report that I lived a perfect life without any struggles and that I won the Noble Peace Prize or something to that effect? Or perhaps I became a famous missionary in uncharted areas of the world?
Unfortunately I can only share that I have lived an ordinary life with the same struggles as you and, for the most part, every other human on planet earth. Ordinary lives are just fine because they teach us the simple truth that Keeping the morning watch, Doing my honest part, Caring for my body, Keeping a level eye, Being courteous and obedient, Walking softly in the sanctuary, Keeping a song in my heart and Going on God’s errands will keep us ever looking and longing for the things of heaven and Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer. I am so very thankful for this ordinary life of being a servant of God and a friend to man!
Author Cathy Roberts Ward lives on the great plains of Nebraska. Although a native Nebraskan she has traveled to a wide variety of places and experienced a great deal of cultural settings, all of which have contributed to her experience with God. Without valley experiences the mountaintop encounter is not as rewarding. Cathy enjoys writing, gardening, visiting with friends and making new ones! Above all Cathy loves Jesus and is excited to think that one day she will live in eternity with Him.
Contact Cathy: email@example.com