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A Charge to the Congregation

“I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.”

2 Timothy 1:3




Dear Christ Church Family,


Standing before you now are a group of men who are evidence of Jesus’ blessing. It’s not that they are the pick of the litter. It’s not that we need these particular men to keep the church a float. It’s that Jesus, in His infinite wisdom and abounding love, has chosen to display His power by calling broken men to shepherd and serve His Bride. And the picture of what Jesus has done, and is doing, to make the broken beautiful in the lives of these men is a picture of what He is doing in His bride. So when you see these men, look beyond them, to see the work of Jesus.

Paul recognized this in Timothy. He knew Timothy’s struggles, and yet he thanked the Lord for giving him to the church. And he prayed for the Lord to continue His work in Timothy, as Timothy fulfilled his calling to the church. Christ Church, let us imitate Paul. See these elders and deacons as a gift from the Lord, and let us thank Him.

Oh…thank these men, too. Allow them to fulfill their calling with joy as you joyfully submit to their leadership. What they do requires a death to self, it requires vulnerability, it requires the sacrifice of time, and it requires boldness in the Word fueled by hours on their knees in prayer. So thank them and submit to them. But also see them for what they are…a gift from the Lord, and thank the Lord for them in prayer.

But as you pray, do more than thank the Lord for His provision of them. Pray for His provision in them. Pray for them to find joy in their serving and shepherding. Pray for them to grow in their love for Jesus and His Bride. Pray that their time in the Word and Prayer would be rich and life-giving. And pray for their families who share them with us.

Know that Satan would like nothing more than to take the joy away from their serving and shepherding, and make it a burden. Satan would like to take these men out. But Satan has been bound by Christ. Pray for the protection of Christ over these men and their families, that they might know His presence and power. Pray that they would know His joy and delight in them.

Now that is an easy thing for us to remember sitting here today. These men are standing before you as a visible representation of Jesus’ blessing to Christ Church. But Paul prayed night and day, without ceasing as he puts it in 1 Thessalonians (5:17). So my charge to you this day is this: do whatever it takes to set up a reminder so that you will persist in prayer. Place their picture on the refrigerator. Place a marker in your Bible. Place a reminder on your calendar. But pray for these men and their families. Thank the Lord for them, and ask for His blessing to be upon them, that through them, He might be glorified in the life and ministry of Christ Church.


Grace and Peace,


James

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