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…
You will never arrive, my son. The crucial reality that must always remain before you is that we must never stop seeking to know the heart of our Father. He has created you to need and desire Him first, before you seek to be anything for anyone. It is both possible and easy to miss the Maker in the work. Allow that to happen for too long and it will take you under and devastate your family and the people that you love. Conversely, hold fast to your Father, clinging as if your very life and the futures of your loved ones depend on it, and you will pass on a legacy worth much more than any work you might be able to accomplish through long, empty hours of directionless toil and sacrifice.
At the same time do not be lazy. Make the most of your opportunities. Do not neglect your family. Not even for the most noble of goals. Make sure they know how loved, special, and valuable they are in your eyes.. so that they might see a tangible picture of how loved, special, and valuable they are in the eyes of God. Never forget that you will stand before God one day and give an account for the care and leadership of your family before an account of the care and leadership of any other ministry, and a healthy “ministry” with an unhealthy family is no healthy ministry at all.
Never lose sight of your story. How God fathered you and brought you to Himself. Let it center you against the call of legalism and dry religion, and let it always remind you to afford people the grace to have their own story with God. This is critical.
Always allow yourself to be led by others. Give people the freedom to speak truth into your life. Invite it and seek it out. You must take the lessons I have been able to impart, and by the grace of God you must go further, son.. all for the sake of His Glory and renown. And make sure that you are always continuing this process by investing in someone who is coming after you, just as I have modeled and as Christ and faithful men have modeled to me.
Don’t get lost in needless arguments. Always seek to keep the most important things the most important things. The Enemy is strong and cunning, and as you seek to step to the front of the crowd and guide God’s people, He will seek to derail and destroy. He that is in you is Greater, but you must hold fast to the One who has saved you because you are not stronger by yourself. My heart’s deep desire to see you remain faithful all of your life.
It is all about who Jesus is, what He has done, what He has said, and what He is continuing to do. The Holy Spirit is the one He has sent to guide you into His Truth. Regularly take time to slow down and listen to what the Spirit is communicating, my son.. and do not neglect Him. And when you realize that you have… know there is always grace enough to start again. The riches of God’s grace always keep us in wonder.
Re-center yourself often… love with zeal, passion and abandon… and always remain humble. Live so that you will always look crazy in somebody’s eyes. Just as our Savior did.
I love you dearly.