In the last 24 hours I have lost two friends, both to different forms of cancer. Yes, they were older friends but they were also people I greatly admire and love.
First was the wife of a dear friend of mine. In fact, I consider him my father in ministry. For years he served as a pastor while his wife, Denise, served in the home and in various ministries in the church. As a pastor’s wife she often didn’t get the recognition he did or the “glory” of the role of pastor. She simply loved God, loved her family, supported her husband and served the church. The pastor’s wife is the unsung hero of the church. She often bears a heavy load from the sacrifices she makes because of ministry. Denise was a faithful wife and supporter of the ministry even when it was tough on her and her family. I believe as she has now entered into Heaven, she will receive the crown of life with joy. She hears the Heavenly Father say, “Well Done, thou faithful and good servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”
For many people, they think the pastor receives the greatest reward, I don’t. I have nothing theological to back it up but if God counts the sacrifices the pastor’s wife makes, there will be a great reward. What sacrifices? Dinners interrupted as her husband takes a phone call to minister to someone. Vacations cut short to come home and bury a church member. Listening to her husband share the burdens of his heart, while she quietly silences her burdens. Helping her husband fulfill his dream for a great church, while she lays aside her life’s dreams to support his. Raising her child in a fishbowl and holding her tongue when she is criticized. Always displaying joy and grace even when she is heavy-hearted. It is the pastor’s wife, not just Denise but all pastor’s wives, who are the unsung heroes of the faith. We will miss you, Denise!
This morning, my friend, Reggie passed away. He loved life and loved people. Every time I would be in mullygrubs, I wanted to get around Reggie. When I wanted to give up on ministry, he was the one I wanted to talk to because he was so full of joy. No matter the circumstances, Reggie would look at it from a positive light. He ministered to thousands of people. He had a heart of compassion for the down and out. He breathed life into every church he pastored and encouraged people to pursue their purpose in life. Many times when I wanted to grumble and complain about my situation, Reggie would tell me to speak positive because you eat from the fruit of your mouth. I often wondered if Reggie ever got down in the dumps. But I never saw him that way. We worked together on a couple outreaches and he came to life when he witnessed to people. He would love on people no matter the color of their skin, how rich or poor they were, young or old. He loved people! Reggie was an example to me. The greatest principle he taught me was, “Make the best of where ever you are.” We will miss you Reggie!