My dear son,
I wanted to write to you some final words to consider as you serve Jesus Christ with your life. Most importantly, never forget your first love. Never allow the stresses of life, the joys of blessing, or the responsibilities with people take priority in your life above Christ. As a caring minister and faithful teacher of the gospel you will be faced with needs and problems and attention from many people. Never forget your first priority is Christ and knowing Him and loving Him more.
Everyday you will face the temptation to do life and ministry on your own, in your own strength. Resist that temptation. No doubt, on your own you can do many things…but nothing of eternal significance and value. We must rely on our Lord for wisdom, power, discernment, grace, and effectiveness. The independent spirit quickly becomes the prideful spirit, which is a spirit with which His Spirit will not engage. Live in dependence on Jesus. Ask Him for strength. Ask Him for blessings. As Him for help. He is the reason for effective ministry.
My son, be real with people. Do not pretend you are something your not. Do not be deceptive in who you are. People do not want perfection in a shepherd. They want a committed shepherd; one who is committed to Christ and committed to his sheep. The hypocrisy of your life as you struggle with your flesh will be less destructive in its effects if your sheep realize you too are imperfect in your pursuit of Christ.
Pray. Pray to our Father, in the name of His Son, and in the power of the Spirit. Without prayer the pastor is nothing. Pray when life is good. Pray when life is tough. Pray during everything in between.
Teach others not just for themselves, but so that they can give truth away to others. This is sound teaching and will extinguish selfishness in our faith. Do not allow others to only think about what themselves in their learning. The gospel will die before long if this is our thinking. We must teach our people the power of the Scriptures for themselves along with the power it can make in the lives of those they love.
Give your life away to others. Invest first in your family and do not leave for them only the scraps of your day. First, be a good husband and father, teaching and leading your family with a servant heart, as one who is accountable to God for them. Second, love the church and serve her selflessly and with love. Third, love those not yet part of the church. Do not allow all your time to be with followers of Jesus. The Lord left us here after our commitment to Christ to make new disciples and show the world the love of Jesus. God gave the church to the world. Your life is not your own. It is for the Lord and His world.
Finally, do everything possible to reach your world for Jesus. The world is not our enemy, Satan is. Do not be afraid of new technologies and trends. Make use of them for Christ. Do not do things in the same ways forever. Nothing is unchanging. Neither can you be. Hold true to the truths about Jesus and His Word given to you and be intentional and creative in your presentation and application of those truths.
My son, keep your eyes focused on the “One Day.” When we get to see Jesus face to face everything will be changed. Look toward that day and live today in full of hope for eternity in Him.
I love you my son,