Thanksgiving Day can be a great time to “count [our] many blessings.” My list, and probably yours, is very long.
First, I am thankful for godly parents and grandparents. My dad, the Rev. Mr. W. Otis Callahan, was an evangelist as far back as I can remember. My mom, Vonnie Strickland Callahan, taught school, took care of me and kept the home fires burning. Dad preached the Gospel in many states and in a few foreign countries.
My mother was my teacher in the 4th and 6th grades. She was great! I was blessed to be raised in Waycross, GA. We had good schools and churches. There were many people who had a positive influence on me. Coaches, teachers, scoutmasters, pastors and Christian friends encouraged me to excel in many areas of my life.
My parents emphasized the importance of receiving a higher education. I had their total support in following my dream of being a military chaplain. They stood by me during several difficult times in my life. I received their unconditional love and acceptance.
I was blessed to have two beautiful and smart daughters, Christy and Ronda. Later, a wonderful stepdaughter, Ann, entered my life. They have blessed me and Caroline, my Proverbs Caroline came into my life when I was a single 40-year-old man. We had been neighbors growing up. It would take a book to share the joys she has brought to my life.
After the Army, I did nine years in prison. Praise God, I was there as a chaplain, not an.inmate. Trying to help young men turn their lives around with God’s help was a real joy. God pleased me again in my last phase of ministry. He opened that door, with some help by a Wesleyan pastor. On the other side of the door was being a hospice chaplain.
During my time there, I was afforded a fantastic opportunity to be with patients and their families during a very significant time—dying and death! What a great blessing to pray with people at death’s door and see them receive Christ before dying.
The least important of my blessings have been material: a home, a truck, clothes and a good retirement. However, I am very thankful for them.
Thank you for allowing me to “count blessings” with you. I am more aware than ever that my successes were because of the help from others and God’s giving me the opportunities to use my talents.
To God be all praise, honor and glory.
Now, “Count Your Blessings” and remember to “give thanks to Him and praise His name” (Psalm 100:4).
[Ordained by the IPHC, Rodney Callahan is a retired US Army and hospice chaplain who now makes his home in Monroe County, Georgia, with his wife Caroline.]
[Editor's comment: It has been my privilege to know Rodney Callahan for many years. I knew his father and mother. His dad was a soul winner, and served our church as a general evangelist. Rodney had a great career as an active duty and reserve Army chaplain and was promoted to full Colonel in the Army Reserves. He has an earned D. Min. degree. I selected him to serve on the IPHC Chaplains Ministries Board because of his vast experience not only as an Army chaplain but as an institutional chaplain. Many of our institutional chaplains serve God and people in obscure places without proper recognition or remunerations. With his encouragement and support we were able to identify and endorse a significant number of institutional chaplains.
Rodney Callahan is a graduate of the University of Georgia and I have gone to several Georgia football games with him here in Athens, Georgia. He is very proud of his daughters. His wife, Caroline is a retired school teacher. She is a talented singer and often sings solos in church. I have enjoyed fellowship with Rodney and Caroline. When I was the pastor of Tarkenton Memorial Pentecostal Holiness Church they visited our church on various occasions. Rodney was fond of his uncle, Heyward Strickland who was a member of our church in Athens. Heyward's widow is a dear friend of our family.]