- Pastor Ralph
We Will Call Him Barry
In my earlier, years I was fortunate to have a good friend who was encouraging me in the Lord. He was literally helping me, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18 (NIV). We didn’t do anything fancy or formal. We would spend time just chatting about the things of the Lord as we cut wood, worked on our houses and just hung out. He was several years my senior, but that did not matter. He was a guy who, in the form of Biblical discipleship, was pouring his life into mine. I am eternally grateful.
One of the things he did at this time was to help a small, struggling church, about 30 minutes north of us. They had no Pastor, little resources and not much as far as people numerically. They desperately wanted to keep their doors open and so my friend (we will call him Barry) came to their aid. He preached there, Sunday by Sunday, and shepherded the people for some period of time. He shared good, sound Biblical messages, listened to folks and encouraged them the best he could.
He demonstrated love, humility and a real passion for serving people. I will never forget his example. He taught me more about Pastoral ministry than some of the courses I have taken. He modelled what it meant to be a shepherd of God’s flock. He exemplified what true servanthood was all about. His example still lives on in my mind.
The Apostle Paul encouraged people, in his day, to follow his example. He simply says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV). People are watching and they see what is going on. By living the “example of Christ”, Barry modelled for me some very important lessons that far outweighed any textbook. The people loved him because he was genuine and he cared. That church today still exists and is flourishing because he was willing to serve in humility and grace. He served when no one else was willing to give them the time of day. He gave them part of his life!
As we close this week, I close with thanksgiving for all the Barrys in my life: people who have stood the test of time because of their devotion to Christ, their devotion to people and their devotion to me. You have taught me great lessons and I thank you. Your love has lit the way!
God bless you. Have a great Friday and, the Lord willing, see you Sunday
– Love Pastor Ralph