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.
Our Savior taught that we are, first and foremost, to love God. Loving God will mean that you make every effort to do what He wants and not what might seem best to you. It will mean that you will make sacrifices. Make certain not to put your focus on the things of the world that are destined to pass away. Instead, spend time with God, read, study, meditate on, and memorize the Word. Live a life of prayer so that it can be said that you pray without ceasing. Have a God consciousness that causes you to go to Him on a moment’s notice. Above all, make every effort with the help of the Holy Spirit to live in accordance with the teachings of the Word of God. As you do this, you will fulfill you calling from God.
Second, Jesus taught that we are to love people. It is by our love that we will be known as His disciples. In order to love people we must understand that all are created in the image of God and are love by Him. Each person has value and worth, even though it may not be apparent to us. Never consider that someone is beyond redemption. Only God can make that determination. Make every effort to accept people where they are. Don’t expect unbelievers to be living according to the standards of God’s Word. Cultivate meaningful relationships with them in which you tangibly demonstrate love for them, no matter what the cost to yourself. Make sure they know that you will love them whether or not they receive Jesus or live as you think they should. If you find this difficult, ask God to help you have the same love for them that He has for you. Let us never forget that we were once lost and enemies with God. Because of this we are in no position to think we are better than them. Take time to listen to their concerns. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of the Word in your life and the need to faithfully communicate it to those around you. Take advantage of every opportunity that God gives you to share the hope that you have and give sound Scriptural advice that will help them in their daily walk in life.
When we focus on loving God and loving people, everything else will fall into place. So don’t allow yourself to be side-tracked by theological gimmicks or fads. Yes, you will probably have to use different methods and technologies, but always keep the primary focus on the Word of God and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ as you interact with others.
It is my prayer that God will enable you to fulfill your ministry as you love Him and love others. No matter how difficult things may seem, keep trusting Him to help you through. God bless you!