Tears welled up in his eyes and his throat closed shut and he creaked out the words between swallows.
“I don’t want to write a book…I don’t need a big church…if you guys email me or call me in five, ten, fifteen, thirty years and tell me you’re still following Jesus, that’s all I want.”
That is my college pastor’s desired legacy. I yearn to have that same devotion to Christ, to people.
Today was his last Sunday morning with us. I’ve been encouraged, inspired, and fed under the teaching of this incredible pastor for the past 8 months. He has called out potential in me, stimulated the faith of others, and welcomed countless students into him and his family’s lives.
As I read the book of Genesis, I’m seeing the incredible faith and devotion of Abraham. Like my pastor, I look at this guy who demonstrated such a devotion to God’s call. My pastor is suddenly leaving to lead a new church. Abraham left at God’s calling to settle in parts unknown, continuing to follow God into his future even though he had no clue what was ahead. He just knew that it would be blessed, for God had said so.
For all of us believers, we face a similar call. The whisper of Yahweh leads us to parts unknown, calling us to follow into uncontrolled tomorrow. Trust me, he says to us, pointing back to our spiritual fathers and mothers and their acts of faith (and doubt) towards his will. It’s been done before, he shows us. I can be trusted, he proclaims.
And God promises that it will be good, because we are in him and saved and sealed for glorious hope, reconciled to our Maker (Rom 5:1-4); because he is on his throne, because he is working something greater for our ultimate good (Rom 8:28); because Good wins and our Savior comes back for us and makes all things new and actually loves us for real (Rom 5:8; Rev 21:5).
For all of the emotions, anxieties, peace, excitement, mundanity I have sparred with these past three weeks in Year 4, I know that God is with me and will lead me on. I pray to have the same faith as Abraham, as Christ, to be like my pastor who is heartily embracing this next season of transition.
I want to have enough faith to say proper goodbyes, and do them extremely well, because they would be rooted in understanding that this isn’t the end–rather, it’s the next step in a glorious, unfolding plan of my Maker in which I am privileged to play a tiny part.
Faith, goodbyes, following our Father–these are misty themes that will continue to surface throughout my next eight months in this blessed place I’ve called home the past several years. Oh, Lord, ready my heart, and teach me something every day of my life.
Help me to see more of you as I soak in the last chapter.