But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
1 Corinthians 6:17
Laying To Rest a Servant of God
Tomorrow we’ll lay a servant of God to rest.
Harold had served the congregation I now serve for fifty years. He preached the Law and Gospel of God, he baptized, confirmed, married, counseled, visited, and buried countless people.
Pastor Harold also was married to Ruth for over 67 years. They raised six children in a four-bedroom-one-bath parsonage (the one I live in now).
He ministered to people who had come out of the Great Depression and who came through World War II. He guided a congregation that has a passion for Lutheran day school education. And he led this congregation to build a larger sanctuary in which to worship God.
A sanctuary that will be full of people giving praise and thanks to God for the life and faith of Harold.
How Does a Pastor Do What He Does?
How could Harold do it? Well, he had help, to be sure.
His parents raised him in a Christian home and modeled to him a loving family. His father was a pastor who showed him a servant’s heart.
Harold followed in his father’s footsteps!
Pastor also had a strong Christian woman at his side. Never underestimate the strength and importance of a pastor’s wife!
But most of all, Harold had the Spirit of God in him.
I’ve come to learn that’s the only way someone can be a pastor.
Now, I’ve only been a pastor about half as long as Pastor Harold. But I understand now that it is the Spirit of God that drives us, motivates us, and empowers us to be successful preachers, teachers, and pastors.
However, this isn’t true just for pastors!
It is true for all Christians.
All Christians Are Called By God to be in One Spirit with Him
Because it is also true that all Christians are called by God to be joined to the Lord in one spirit. All Christians are called by God to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every Christian is called by God to encourage and build up each other in the Lord.
For this is exactly what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit encourages, builds up, and proclaims the truth of God to all the world.
Through God’s people!
Pastor Harold was called by God into the Office of the Public Ministry. The Holy Spirit called him through the Church, and through one congregation for fifty years.
Pastor Harold could only do this through being joined to the Lord, by becoming one spirit with him, and by being filled with the Holy Spirit.
You can do this, too. I pray that you will be joined to the Lord, become one spirit with him, and proclaim the Gospel.
In this way, you will be carrying on the legacy of Pastor Harold and countless other pastors and Christians who have gone before us.
We will all be in one spirit with the Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, great Shepherd of Your flock, it has pleased you to call Harold, a pastor to your people, into your glorious presence. We thank and praise you for all the blessings and mercy you bestowed on your departed servant, especially for the years you permitted him to be your undershepherd. We praise you for having kept him faithful and in one spirit with you in the face of trials and difficulties, for having given success to your Word which he proclaimed, for having built your temple in the hearts of many through his ministry, and for having given him a blessed death and reception into the kingdom of your glory in heaven. Comfort all who mourn his departure, and help us gratefully to remember all who have spoken the Word of God to us as we await our joyful reunion in heaven. In your name. Amen.
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