May 30, 2013 Words of Grace – Learning from Those Ahead of Us
I recently attended a funeral service led by my pastor, Bob Mowrey. Everyone calls him Bro. Bob.
Bro. Bob served as the pastor of Park Avenue Baptist Church in Nashville for thirty-five years. After his “retirement,” he served several churches as interim pastor and helped them prepare to call their next full-time pastor. At age 77, Bro. Bob became the pastor of Scottsboro Baptist Church. Today, at age 87, he is still an active pastor, preaching three times a week and caring for a congregation of 200 people.
During the funeral service I studied Bro. Bob as closely as I ever have, wanting to learn from this man who has loved and served God for nearly eight decades. I observed his movements, watched his facial expressions, noticed his physical appearance, and listened to his words and the tone in which he spoke them.
I have learned much about pastoral ministry from Bro. Bob over the years, but here are a few things I hope to learn from him about living at this stage of his life.
1. Stay active. This man of 87 years is not finished with his work. I am reminded to find something fruitful to do until I simply can’t do anything else.
2. Stay sharp. Bro. Bob’s suit and tie were up-to-date and fit his trim body perfectly. For years he has taken a brisk walk each evening during which he prays, sings, or memorizes Scripture. In this way, he has done his best to stay sharp in body, mind, and spirit.
3. Stay in the word of God. At the funeral, Bro. Bob quoted from memory Psalm 23 and John 14. These chapters, along with just a few sentences of commentary on each, were his funeral sermon. He let the power of God’s word speak for itself.
4. Stay grateful to God for a great salvation. I heard Bro. Bob share again about coming to faith in Christ when he was nine years old. He spoke of his conversion as if it was a recent event. He spoke with gratitude and love for Jesus.
5. Stay simple. There is nothing grandiose about Bro. Bob. He does not embellish or draw attention to himself. He believes a simple gospel and speaks the simple truth in a simple manner. He has a genuine love for people that doesn’t come with an agenda. He is simply himself. There is great power in simplicity. It is an attractive and rare quality.
I saw nothing in Bro. Bob at that funeral service that is for pastors only. We can all learn from him how to be happy and fruitful saints of God.