And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
Most of last week was spent in Wenatchee, Washington, site of a joint Lutheran Pastor’s Conference. (Sorry about being absent from the blog—we had some technical difficulties.)
Now, I am neither Lutheran, nor a pastor. Why was I there?
I was their speaker for the week—asked to provide them with the training to lead Truth Project small groups. It was a delightful time.
Nothing thrills me more than a humble pastor whose heart is dedicated to the Lord and to see his flock healthy and strong. We had some lively interaction… open and honest… and I was sad to leave them.
When I returned, I then had the privilege of participating in an Invocation Service for one of my former Seminary students, Jim Alexander, who was being installed as the senior pastor of a local church. I could not have been more proud of him. During the sermon, Dr. Dominic Aquila listed all of the “tasks” and “duties” of a pastor and what people expected of them. As he went through the list, I briefly wondered if my friend would raise his hand and say, “I may have to rethink this!” Of course, he didn’t, but the responsibilities of a pastor are enormous.
Most of them involve the dying to oneself. That was the heart of the sermon.
Next Sunday, take the time to look your pastor in the eye and thank him… not for his sermon… but for his service.
By the way, the trees were just turning in Washington. I had to stop over and over again on my 3-hour drive from Wenatchee to the Seattle airport.
Isn’t it amazing how the Lord has given us such beauty in the midst of death?
–Leaves that are about to die and drop to the ground give us their greatest testimony at the end of their life;
–The dying rays of a sunset;
–The sedimentary layers of the flood—the beauty of the mountains or in the Grand Canyon.
Jesus did the same. The ugliness of the trial and the scourging and the cross become a beautiful testimony of the love of God.
We don’t seek death, but neither do we fear it…for it is possible that our greatest testimony will come at our death, either our physical death or when we daily die to ourselves.