A couple of weeks ago my husband and I had the privilege of receiving the Lord’s Supper from a retired minister. After the service was over, we had been thinking the same thing – it was wonderful to have him there. He had the look that almost all old, faithful pastors do.
These men are not out to impress anyone, because they are secure in the Great Shepherd’s love. When you speak to them, even if you are not a member of their congregation, they are eager to hear and share your burdens. They preach with no concern for men’s opinion, because they are seasoned in preaching the gospel to all sorts and conditions of men, only seeking approval from Christ. Their eyes have seen a lot of joy and much suffering, and have wept for souls. They have been faithful in the administration of the sacraments. They have raised their hands in benediction, blessing the congregation hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. And Scripture says that even their feet are beautiful (Isaiah 52:7).
If you have a pastor like this, praise the Lord for him. He is a man who is faithful in prayer for you, entirely trustworthy, burdened to see your soul safely to glory. You can trust this under-shepherd to act for your spiritual good at cost to himself. He is nearing the finish line of life with a record of faithful service to the glory of Jesus.
Whether your pastor is just beginning or ending his ministerial race, pray for him. All Christians are targets for the Evil One, who would like nothing better than to cause a believer to stumble. But a faithful minister is to the devil what a general is to an enemy sharpshooter: it is like you pastor is waving a red flag in the battle against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12). Satan would love to strike your shepherd and scatter Christ’s sheep.
Pray that your minister would remain faithful to the end not only to the blessing of his congregation, but to the praise of God’s glorious grace. Because a sinner saved by grace, doing Christ’s work on earth, preserved to the end by the Father has a beauty that will bring praise to the Saviour for eternity.