Last night we attended a 50th anniversary celebration of a dear pastor and his wife. Family and friends shared some great stories and honored them with thanks for so many years of faithfulness to the Lord and His causes. Some particular thoughts really spoke to my heart and challenged me afresh in my own walk with the Lord and His call on my life:
- As a couple, they are known for loving people, for taking them just as they are and loving them into the kingdom. Practical, sacrificial love.
- In tandem with that is their ability to build relationships. Everyone is important to them, everyone has value and is highly esteemed.
- They are known for nurturing people into their own ministries, pushing them out of the ministry nest and helping them succeed. They've spoken vision and confidence and the Word into countless peoples' lives, which is truly Jesus' mandate to us to go and "make disciples."
- They are people of astonishing vision, working in nearly 200 countries to plant churches, travelling several times a year overseas to minister--and they plan on another good twenty years to reach the world for Christ.
- They are some of the most hospitable people I've ever known. Their home is a place of welcome to young and old alike, Bible studies and meetings, parties and showers--and for fifty years! In this day of societal disconnect, I find this quality one of the most significant ministries possible. Homeschooling demands have eroded this priority in my own life, but before the Lord I want to boost it back up where it belongs!
- They had many kids and grandkids there celebrating with them, all of them serving the Lord in some capacity and growing into their own ministries. What a testimony! They had an adopted daughter and granddaughter from China, and many in both generations were or are homeschooled.
- I also loved the thoughts they shared about marriage, confessing that though they are complete opposites, they worked from an inviolable commitment to each other before the Lord and obedience to His Word, and have tried to always give each other grace in the difficult moments.
One of the women who spoke of the wife's influence on her own life said, "There aren't too many people in this world whom you could say you wanted to be like. But I can say of B. - I want to be like her." I agreed with her, and went home thanking the Lord for people like this couple who go before us and show us how it's done. May the Lord help me, help us all, to be faithful to His call and commands!