This weekend, two friends, two fathers in ministry, finished their race and went home to be with Jesus.
I just got to visit with Bro. Paul Box. He was the pastor at First Baptist Moore when I came to faith in Christ. He was pastor when I was first called into ministry. He and his wife, Patti, were the first to teach me what life in ministry was all about.
I remember being in the 6th grade. They encouraged us to take notes during the services for 4 weeks. Those of us who completed all 4 weeks received a t-shirt. It had a pocket print that said, “Pastor’s Palls”. Oh yes, it was that cool.
When they gave out the shirts Bro. Paul shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m proud of you.” It’s strange, the effect of four simple words. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to live up to the faith so many others have had in me.
Today, as we finished our conversation Bro. Paul again shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m proud of you.”
And the 6th grade boy in me returned.
I hope someday I inspire others the way Bro. Paul inspires me.
Dr. Mike Compton was my College Pastor. To this day I catch myself using his quotes, and teaching his lessons. From him I learned what it means to become more deeply and intimately acquainted with the Heavenly Father and how to encourage others to do the same. He would challenge people with this idea,
“Jesus discipled 12 men who would change the world. What would it be like if you did the same?”
It was clear Mike was looking for his 12. He always said that since he didn’t have the privilege of knowing which 12 would be his ones to change the world that he would make it his goal to disciple as many people as God would entrust to him. He was faithful to this call and I am blessed because of it.
It makes me wonder who my 12 will be. It makes me hope that someday I will discover I became one of his.
Grief is the price we pay for loving relationships that last beyond the horizon of this world to influence eternity. Yet Scripture is clear, as followers of Jesus Christ, we don’t grieve like those who have no hope, and for good reason. Both of these architects of my faith would say it like this:
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” – Philippians 1:21-23
They would add:
“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith I therein rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.” Philippians 2:17-18
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
I am grateful for Bro. Paul and for Mike. I hope to live up to the legacy of faith they invested in me. They will be missed.