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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)

TITLE: My Father a Man of Dedication
By Carol Gray


Many years ago, I observed firsthand my father’s dedication to his calling. I didn’t understand his commitment then, like I do now. I just couldn’t see going all of those miles to an empty church Sunday after Sunday. He heard the call from God, to go and Pastor, I was only a child, then. It wasn’t easy, comfortable, or convenient, but it was his purpose.

It doesn’t matter how difficult the road is to travel. I mean that literally—travel. My father, my mother, and I would board a Greyhound bus around 8 o’clock every Sunday morning. After riding thirty minutes, we finally arrived in Westminister, South Carolina. Our next mode of transportation to get to the church was a taxi cab. In those days, it was very expensive considering the income--probably ten or twelve dollars for two adults. Children rode free, if I’m remembering correctly. When we finally arrived at the church, we were welcomed by one faithful lady named, Sister Ruth. She loved her Pastor and his family. It was a treat for me to go to her house. She was a great cook; they lived on a farm, with horses, cows, and pigs.

It was worth the hardships we experienced, because one sincere soul was worth the journey. That’s why my father always went. He would always say, “Sister Ruth might be there looking for us today, we’ve got to go.” Sometimes it would be hot and sticky or cold and rainy. He had real passion for what he was doing; it was from the heart. I remember going to a neighbor’s house to ask him, if he could take us to Westminister. That worked out well, because his parents lived there. Therefore, we could ride back home with him. Otherwise we would get a taxi to take us home, or ride the Greyhound bus if we had the money. Before we started back home, we would have Sunday school, which was always good, followed by worship and testimony service. My father’s favorite message to preach was about the prodigal son returning back to his father’s house.

There is a big difference between a preacher and a Pastor. The preacher goes from place to place spreading the good news of the gospel, but a Pastor predominantly stays at his church watching and nurturing his flock. That, of course, includes preaching, teaching, admonishing, and correction. When Sister Ruth became ill, my father would visit her and pray for her healing.

The members in a church are like sheep. A characteristic of sheep is that they need a shepherd, so they won’t go astray or be eaten by wolves. A good shepherd cares for his sheep. His own life is not valuable to himself, because he will lay down his life for his sheep. He will not lead them to harmful territory. They know his voice and the voice of a stranger, they will not follow. There are many voices today, preaching many doctrines. This can be dangerous, because if you start eating wrong food, your growth will be stunted, and disease can grow. Even Jesus himself said, “I am the good shepherd and I lay down my life for my sheep.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter12/07/06
And may many more churches be blessed by a pastor as dedicated and godly as your father. THank you for sharing.
Donna Powers 12/09/06
I agree. This is a good example of a heart to serve God. Your love for your father is evident in this story. Nice work.