Each year I write a letter to our NWO retired ministers and their spouses. We enclose a small gift of appreciation from our district family. I thought you might be interested in this year’s letter. And let’s all remember to express our love and appreciation to our pastors and their families.
It is always with warmth in my heart when I write to our Northwestern Ohio District retired ministers and spouses. Most of this is because I think of you as I write. Another piece is this causes me to think of my parents. This is especially so this year. In May my mother had her 80th birthday, my parents celebrated their 60th anniversary in September and next week, Lord willing, my dad will turn 80. In many ways their story is similar to so many of yours.
Fifty years ago … the winter of 1969-70 … my dad surrendered to God’s call to preach. The adjustments were significant. Dad resigned his position. He and mom sold our house. We moved 600 miles (via U-Haul, of course) into a duplex that for a lack of knowledge my siblings and I called a “half a house”… the parsonage, in other words.
There was Dad in his first pastorate. He did not have a district minister’s license, or for that matter a local license. He had never even preached a sermon. (He never did have a local license. Two months after becoming a pastor the District Assembly voted him a district license. It must have been handy to be a DS in those days. What say ye, Dr. Shankel?)
From all of that I learned some life lessons that guide me to this day. The biggest one is “Do what the Lord wants and it will all work out for good.” That thought especially resonates with me this time of the year when I read the story of two even younger adults, Joseph and Mary, who did not understand what God was doing, but they trusted and obeyed Him.
So, all of that to say from my heart “THANK YOU” for your service and even sacrifice in the cause of Christ through the Church of the Nazarene. No doubt there were times you did not understand, but you “trusted and obeyed.” I hope you sense the appreciation of your church including the Northwestern Ohio District. Your labors were not in vain, and in fact we continue to “pick fruit” from the “trees” you planted, watered and cared for.
I wish for you and your family a beautiful, blessed and Merry Christmas.
Warmly yours in Christ,