It has been quite a while since my last post. I really haven’t been in a writing mood over the past month or so. A little over a month ago my pastor was admitted into the hospital in the last stages of cancer and shortly after that he went home to be with the Lord. He was a like a father to me. I watched him as a husband love his precious wife of 52 years. I watched him as a father work together in ministry with his son and daughter. I also watched him lovingly spoil his grandchildren who really loved their “Papa”. I learned so much about ministry by watching him shepherd the flock of God selflessly and preach the truth of God’s word fearlessly. With him gone for about a month now everything has changed so quickly. His son has stepped into the role of senior pastor of our church and is doing a great job. I am now transitioning out of youth ministry into an associate pastor role. I am excited about where God is taking us as a local church body but at the same time I am sad because I loved him and I miss him. He treated me like a son.
In seasons like this we have to ask ourselves a vital question, So now what? It may seem insensitive at first glance but really its not. You see the legacy of the church is not centered on any one man but on Jesus Christ Himself. He declared with sovereign certainty that he would build His Church and that is exactly what He is doing. I have drawn great strength and encouragement from the Scriptures and specifically from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. In 2 Timothy 2:1-2 Paul writes “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This was written by a man who was sitting in a Roman prison on death row for the sake of the gospel. He was not asking for sympathy or pity but under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he was writing words of encouragement to his son in the faith. Paul told Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. He was pushing Timothy to keep his eyes on Jesus and to continue to draw strength from Jesus.
He then instructs Timothy to take the rich gospel heritage that he had received and invest it into others who would continue the work of gospel ministry. When I read these words I can’t help but think of a relay race. One runner runs his portion of the race but then there comes a time when the runner’s assignment comes to an end and he has to pass the baton to the next runner. I have noticed that ministry is a lot like that. My pastor ran his assigned portion of the race and by the grace of God he ran it well. He has finished his race but we are still here to finish ours. So even though our hearts are still heavy with grief we will look to Jesus Christ who is the Author and Finisher of our faith and run to win. My pastor used to always say that what we are a part of is bigger than the part that we play. We would do well to remember that truth and run our portion of the race to win.