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…
First, stay faithful to the Word of God. Be a good student. Continue to learn what it means. Continue to learn how to apply it first to yourself, then to others. Continue to defend it when others criticize or minimize it. It is your life-blood. It is the only way to avoid the traps of heresy and the emotional roller-coaster which is the spiritual life.
Second, love God’s Bride, the church. Love it when it excels at it’s mission. Love it when it fails miserable. Don’t give up on it. Don’t short-change it. Don’t neglect it. Remember, it is God’s Bride.
Third, love the lost. Love them deeply. Love them sacrificially. Love them whether they ever return that love, because often they won’t. Love them in this country. Love them around the world. Love them by demonstrating and explaining to them the only way of salvation, their personal faith in the what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for them. Because physical and emotional needs often cloud their ability to see their spiritual needs, love them physically. Help them when they are hurting. Give whatever aid it is in your power to provide.
Fourth, pursue holiness. Many a person has lost his ministry because of failures in this area. Keep eternity always in your mind. Don’t live for the thrills of the present. Live for the future. Build for the future. Pursue holiness and all the sacrifices that will involve. God is worthy!
Last, but certainly not of least importance, love your family. Give them time. Don’t just rely on quality of time, but give them quantity as well. Don’t sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry. Enjoy them. Be a good illustration to them of God’s love for them. This will reap eternal benefits for you as well as for them.
Praying for you always,
(Written by Douglas A. Courter)