This week I participated in another funeral. This one was for a preacher, more than a preacher, he was a mentor and friend. Looking around me, I see that the men whom I looked up to as mentors, teachers, and counselors are getting older and passing from this life. Just in the last few years two men whom I consider as participants in influencing me to become a preacher made the transition from this life toward the next. I will miss both Dale McCaleb and Jimmie Wisdom among others.
Jimmie was the young preacher when I was growing-up at Leonard Street Church of Christ in Pensacola. He was younger then than I am now. It was Jimmie who turned to me and my best friend, Tom, and asked if we wanted to preach on Philemon and Titus. We agreed, thinking he was joking — he was a prankster after-all. Imagine our surprise when in his introductory remarks that Sunday evening he told the entire congregation that we would preach on a given night -just a few weeks away. We were only in 7th grade!
But a that “sermon” lit a fire in my bones. I was scared, but I was thrilled. I still feel the adrenaline from that night. I think about it often. I still get excited when I stand to present God’s Word, even after 26 years in some aspect of ministry and 33 years since that first attempt at a sermon.
To my fellow preachers. The giants that stood before us are quickly – too quickly – leaving this world. They are passing the torch to us. Will we pick it up? Will we look around us and find those to whom we will pass it on? Are we mentoring the next generation of preachers? Will we let the Church follow the path of Israel in the time of the Judges when after the death of Joshua and the elders that served with him they left following God, or will we teach today’s children not to depart, but to keep following God and proclaiming His Good News?
Join me today as I take time to pray for us and for the future of God’s Kingdom.