Breakfast with a Saint
I had breakfast with J. Thomas Lefever on several occasions. We were almost the same age. His obituary described him as a “bull of a man” in his younger days. Many years after his peak strength, he could’ve still snapped me in half like a matchstick. He was both a farmer and a pastor. He never went to seminary. It didn’t matter. His church was healthier than most. That’s partially because he was spiritually healthier than most pastors.
He didn’t gauge his success based on church offerings and attendance. Pastoring some other bigger church with a higher salary was never his goal. At times I praised him for the fruit of his ministry. That praise inevitably rolled off him like water off a raincoat. Earthly success didn’t matter to him. What mattered was that God would in the end find him faithful in carrying out his assigned calling. His obituary stated, “The driving force in Pastor Tom’s life was the biblical call found in 1 Corinthians 4:2 “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” His faith was his highest priority. Nothing else was even a close second. It was the Jell-O mold that shaped his entire life.
Is that also true of you? Beware of substituting good religious rituals and responsibilities for the best—following God’s agenda. They can’t replace the good works He prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). We can easily be spiritually busy without being spiritually fruitful (John 15:8). It’s far simpler to do what we want to do for God than to discern what He wants to do through us. Regular church attendance, small group involvement, generous giving, daily praying/Bible reading, and serving on the church board are all good things. But they’re not our job description. They prepare us to play our part in making more and better followers of Jesus based on how God has uniquely gifted us (Matthew 28:18-20). Like Pastor Tom, we’re all stewards. God will one day assess our faithfulness. I’m pretty sure Tom passed with flying colors. We will too if our highest priority is faithfulness to our assigned calling. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources
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Photo: Picture of J. Thomas Lefever from his obituary