This week marks the completion of 32 years in pastoral ministry for me. On the first Sunday of February, 1989, I started in a Part-Time role at Greenfield Baptist Church in South Edmonton. Now I could say that through perseverance, hard work and devotion, I have ministered these 32 years.
However, that would put this all on me – as if I did this in my own strength, power and hard work. In reality, so many people have helped me along the way. The people of Greenfield, at that time, showed me such grace and encouragement. They endured my youthful mistakes and struggles. They prayed for me and showed patience when I erred. I cannot thank them enough. The pastors I worked under taught me and equipped me. More than their words, their example influenced me in different ways.
When we moved to Ottawa, I needed help to address different situations in ministry. Many in the church supported and prayed for me. I sought counsel from others who gave their time to me. My wife proved a rock of support for me.
These past 15 years in St Albert, have stretched, strained, discouraged, challenged, grown and uplifted me. Many at Sturgeon Valley have prayed for me. The Wednesday prayer group lifts up our staff, leadership and myself every week. People have reached out with cards, prayers, words, little gifts that have sustained.
On top of that, I have experienced tremendous support from my family. My parents, though hesitant at first, supported the venture into ministry. My sister and her husband encouraged and prayed for me. My kids have all encouraged me in different ways. My wife has been my confidant, friend, perspective giver and support.
Underneath all of this, God supported and sustained me through it all. He brought me people, books, seminars and friends to help me grow in ministry skill. He personally sustains, empowers and strengthens me. Only by His strength and grace can I carry on.
I thought about all of this today because of Galatians 6:14 – “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” On account of the cross, I live and minister today. Jesus persevered with me and showed patience to me despite my weaknesses, sins and mistakes. It is not by my strength that I have ministered 32 years. It is by the Lord’s strength and those He has brought into my life to help me.
Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How much have you gained because of Jesus’ willingness to go to the cross? What do you enjoy today because of the cross? What freedom might you live with today because of the cross? If you would like to share, please comment below. You never know how God might use your words to encourage someone else!
God bless you and thank you Lord Jesus for going to the cross.