Attention pastors: The next time a person makes a profession of faith in your church, make sure you talk about baptism and set a date to perform the ordinance.
If that had happened to C. Harold Short, he might not have gone 79 years between his salvation experience and his baptism.
“Three of us were saved at a Wednesday evening outdoor service at Lawton, First,” recalled Short, now 95 years old. “For some reason, we couldn’t be baptized that night, and no one ever notified me about a baptismal service.”
It wasn’t that Short didn’t know he was supposed to be baptized, but as the months and years passed, he just never took the initiative to get it done. He has attended Lawton, First since his family settled in the southwest Oklahoma city in 1917.
Born in Texline, Texas, Short and his family moved to Lawton when he was 3. His father died, and his grandmother helped take care of him and his sister. After graduation from Lawton High School, he attended Cameron Junior College, and worked in the construction business to save money to continue his education at Oklahoma State University. But while at OSU, Uncle Sam called, and Short joined the Navy and served two tours in the South Pacific during World War II.
Returning to Oklahoma, he married a girl he met while at OSU, and they moved to Lawton, where he worked for the General Adjustment Bureau as a manager for 15 years. He later formed his own company, was manager for high-rise, low-income housing and finished his career as director of maintenance for Lawton Public Schools.
Short’s wife died shortly before he retired. Their two sons live in the Dallas area. His grandson is a recent graduate of Baylor University and is working in Austin, Texas, and his granddaughter is a senior at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Dallas.
Short noted that throughout his time at Lawton, First, he was active in Sunday School, served on the building committee and made trips to Oregon and Utah to help build churches, as well as repairing and doing maintenance on the church’s cabin at Falls Creek.
Short said that recently he has been watching Lawton, First’s church services on television.
“My hearing aid doesn’t work well in large crowds,” he said, “and although we have a big screen in the auditorium, I can’t see well and read fast enough to keep up. But I can stay home and watch the service on television and follow everything.
“When Pastor Hall—I like to call him Shane—came as pastor, he preached several sermons on baptism,” Short continued. “The last one was in Ephesians where Paul was talking to his followers. It just seemed like Shane was sent to get me baptized.”
A few days after that sermon, Short, a member of Lawton’s Kiwanis Club, was attending a club meeting where Hall was a guest.
“I collared him and told him I wanted to be baptized,” recalled Short. “He said he could make that happen.”
Short said he felt like to finish his salvation experience, he needed to be baptized.
“I can’t blame anyone but myself for not getting it done earlier,” he said. “I just didn’t take the ball and run with it.”
He added that ever since he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, he felt like he was saved.
“I just didn’t fulfill the Lord’s agreement,” he admitted.
But that happened Oct. 17 when Short was finally baptized.
“Many nights I spent thinking about baptism,” Short confessed. “I know it’s unusual for a 95-year-old-plus man to decide this was the time to be baptized, but things just worked out that way.”