My dear son,
I realize you will be serving Christ in a world far different than the one where I was trained and first released into ministry. Your methods, your dress, your vocabulary, the technologies you use and even the problems you face may have little in common with the world I knew, or even the world in which we both minister today. You will be a faithful servant of Christ not because you mimic my words or imitate my ministry style, but because you live out the timeless values we share – values that come to us from the Word of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So while I still have the opportunity, I want to take a few minutes to summarize in writing the values and life lessons I have attempted to live out before you and most want to pass on to you.
Trust God! Know He has a plan for you to further His gospel that is unique; one that no one else can fulfill for you. Value each experience life will call you to as an opportunity to reflect your calling to follow Christ in whatever circumstances you find yourself in, and in doing so, point others to Jesus, our Lord. You know that I have found opportunity to give God glory in good times and to praise Him for His enduring grace to me in the hard times as well. Don’t be afraid you aren’t experienced enough, don’t have enough training, or that you aren’t equipped to come alongside those God places in your path of life to share Christ’s love in ways that will bring them to the knowledge of His glory and salvation that He alone offers to a lost and dying world. Trust God and the power of His Holy Spirit that lives in you to complete the work God wills in the life of those He brings into your life.
A life lived for Christ is a life about people – God’s people – His creation, whom He desires to know His Son and His sacrifice in order that they will return home to their heavenly Father for all eternity. Invest yourself in others. Give them your time, your attention, your love and affection. Share what God has done for you, through you, and is continuing to do in you. Lead them to know who they are to Christ and who they are called to be in Christ. Encourage them with their purpose for God, their promise in Christ and their power in His Holy Spirit to not only survive this life here on earth, but to thrive for Him in the midst of trials and struggles.
Don’t forsake God’s Word for God’s relationships. Don’t compromise God’s Word in a vain attempt to make it more attractive. As I said before: Trust God! It is God alone that brings people to the saving knowledge of His work upon the cross. Our calling is to be faithful ministers of His word, trusting in God to bring about the work in those who hear. Therefore, continue to strive to know God more and more each day as He has revealed Himself through His scriptures to you. Share Christ’s saving work on the cross through faith in Christ alone to the lost, and, at the same time, encourage and exhort those in Christ to model His life of selfless servant hood to the world around us. Eagerly seek to live the truths of scripture in, by and through the grace and mercy of God; knowing it is He alone that empowers us to live according to His Word.
Finally, Love! When in doubt remember the grace and mercy by which God called us back into relationship with Him and into ministry for Him. Keep your heart turned to a desire to bring God glory in all things and to show and share the love of Christ. Give thanks to God for all things, because He alone makes all things possible by His Spirit Who lives in us.