Ground Breaking

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

As a minister here in the city of Montgomery for 40 years I have been invited many, many times to offer a prayer at a ribbon cutting or a groundbreaking for some business. I have always enjoyed that aspect of ministry.

Mayor Emory Folmar, long time mayor of Montgomery, would jokingly say that he spent more time with me than any other citizen as we went more than 100 times to perform these civic duties. I would give an opening prayer and then Emory would have very suitable words about the company involved. One day he told a group of people, “If John Ed would learn how to make my speech I wouldn’t have to go to so many of these functions.” I spoke, before thinking, and said, “Well if Mayor Folmar would learn how to pray, I wouldn’t need to go to so many of these!”

I recently went to one of the most interesting that I have ever attended. It was the groundbreaking for the new Reinhardt Lexus – Toyota building on the Eastern Bypass. Mr. Jim Reinhardt is one of the finest Christian men I have met. His children, who are now running the Lexus and Toyota dealerships, are following in his footsteps. I’ve driven their cars for several years.

In his opening statement Mayor Strange, who has been in the car business, paid the ultimate compliment to Jim Reinhardt when he said he always exemplified impeccable integrity and a Christian spirit and attitude. The Chamber of Commerce then called on Mike Reinhardt, who is also an active member at Frazer, to tell about the cost of the expansion, the number of square feet, the number of employees, etc. It was an excellent opportunity to really toot the horn for Reinhardt Lexus – Toyota.

But Mike just made a couple of quick statements and then said that the real focus of the groundbreaking was to honor how God had blessed his family and the business and the whole purpose was to give God the glory. Wow! In fact he said he had invited ministry partners to be present and he would rather for them to speak about their ministry.

Mike called on me to pray and share. The Reinhardts have been strong supporters of our ministry. He then called on Mike Conn to tell of his ministry to military persons in Montgomery. He called on Bryan Kelly to share about his ministry on the west side of Montgomery.

Mike then called on Patrick Quinn to share and to offer a prayer. The closing prayer was given by Tim Thompson, who offered a prayer of dedication of that new facility to be built to continue its focus on high business principles of integrity and providing ministry to people.

Marshall Construction is building this huge facility. The Reinhardts became connected to the Marshalls through a special ministry called Carpenters for Christ. A few years ago Mr. Jim Reinhardt went for 10 days with a group of us to trace the journeys of Paul. We flew back into Atlanta from Rome, Italy. We arrived in late afternoon. We had a bus to pick us up there and bring us back to Montgomery. We arrived here about 9:00 on Saturday night.

You can imagine how tired everyone was with jet lag and with ten days of an intense schedule. When we pulled into the parking lot at Frazer most of us were thinking about how quickly we could get home and go to bed. Not Jim Reinhardt. Some family members were waiting for him in the parking lot. They were preparing to drive all night to Indiana so that they could all participate in a Carpenters for Christ ministry in building a church!

The other group recognized was B B & T Bank. Their representative was Guy Davis, local President and outstanding United Methodist layman, whose remarks reflected the purpose of the event.

It was joy to a part of a business event that focused more on ministry than on business. Of all the civic activities where I prayed in the last 40 years, this was one of the most meaningful! Read John 6:27.

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