Something in my life was missing’
Elder Thomas Smith never missed a Sunday at church growing up. His grandparents, Bishop Chauncey and Louise Smith, were the leaders of Faith Tabernacle Church in Dockyard.
They took him along with them to the service each week from the time he was able to walk.
Things, however, took a different turn for Mr Smith once he reached his teenage years.
“My faith didn’t become real to me until I made a serious commitment to Christ by the age of 18,” he said.
“At 14, I was living a teenager’s life. I was into football, focused on girls and got caught up smoking weed with friends. I would hang out and go partying and that lasted until I went off to college at 17.”
Due to his football prowess, he got into a college in Cleveland, Ohio, straight after high school.
“That first night out there in the US I will never forget. My parents had left me and I walked back into my dorm room and said: ‘OK God, it’s just you and me.’”
Still, his relationship with God remained shaky for a couple of years.
And then in 1997 he was hit with two hardships around the same time — his grandfather passed away and doctors discovered his father had a brain tumour.
Mr Smith decided to leave college; he also lost his focus on God.
“That year I felt miserable, like things weren’t right and something in my life was missing,” he said.
“I had done just about everything I could do and still felt empty. Then one day I started talking to my uncle who is also a pastor. He asked me if I was all right, but could tell I wasn’t really. We started talking even more and I ended up rededicating my life back to God.”
The first time Mr Smith shared his testimony was at Calvary Gospel Chapel. Since then he has been an active preacher trying to point other people who may be lost and looking for hope, towards Christ.
He credits his wife, Elizabeth, and infant son, Theodore, with helping him to mature in his faith walk.
“I’ve learnt through my own life how important it is to be in a place where you trust God despite what you go through,” the 38-year-old said.
“Trusting that God is going to work out every situation that you ever face, it doesn’t matter what it is. Understanding that you are His child. He loves you and always has the best for you, but you have to trust the process He takes you through.”
Mr Smith is gearing up to speak tomorrow at Marsden Methodist Church on the topic of “Spending time with God”. Although it’s Women’s Day, the church decided to have male speakers deliver the message as a way of honouring females in the congregation.
“In any relationship — whether it’s a friendship or husband and wife relationship — in order to get the best out of it we need to spend time together,” he said of tomorrow’s message. “Likewise, with our spiritual relationship with God, if you don’t spend time with God we won’t get to know how much he loves us and how we can learn about who we are in Him.
“Sometimes we have miserable days or our life isn’t what we want; most times we get those feeling when we haven’t spent time with God to discover what life is really about through His eyes. We spend a lot of time going to the barber or getting our hair done or picking out the right outfit. It’s OK to invest in ourselves but we also need to invest in our relationship with God. God knows what’s best for us and what we need, when we need it.”
Mr Smith wants people that hear his message to better understand how they can practically apply God’s word to their lives and to fully comprehend the message of the gospel.
• Hear Thomas Smith speak at 10am tomorrow at Marsden First United Methodist Church, 151 South Shore Road, Smith’s
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