There are many examples. Here is one dear to me. It is a pastor I knew for over 10 years, whose widow now attends our church. By the time I had met this pastor, he had served faithfully as a pastor for over 40 years and was “retired.” Retirement for this pastor met serving part time doing pastoral care at a large church, preaching every funeral he was called for (usually weekly), and preached somewhere most Sundays. He was a simple man. Very little education. Yet, had led hundreds to the Lord, preached faithfully for over 40 years, and was nicknamed because of his tenacious shepherding of the sick the “master of the hospital room.”
Probably his most affirming mark of perseverance in his ministry was how he spent his final day on this earth. It was Easter Sunday. He preached at a church in the morning. He preached at another church in the evening. Then, while getting ready for bed that night, had a massive heart attack and died. What a way for a faithful preacher of the gospel all his life to leave this world. He preached the resurrection of Jesus in the morning. He preached the resurrection of Jesus in the evening. Then, before the end of the night, experienced the resurrection himself and met the Lord Jesus. Without question, this man persevered in his faith firm until the end. His widow continues to hold fast to Christ in inspiring ways, despite the pain of losing her husband in this way.
Pastors like this man are the true heros and the ones to whom set the bar for us in pastoral ministry. When we come to the end, dear brothers, it won’t matter how big our church was, how many books were written, or what famous pastors we knew. What matters is how we finished. This man finished well. Are you on pace to do the same?
What pastor in your life modeled this same kind of perseverance to you?