Tuesday, March 24, 2020
During the early days of ministry, one of my dearest mentors was Dr. Erwin Bohmfalk. Bummie, as he was known, provided me much valuable insight and years of learning. He was born in 1900, so he had more than 60 years of ministry behind him when I first met him. That meant that he had learned a thing or two and wanted to pass it on to me.
One of the gifts he gave me was a framed prayer known as The Pastor’s Prayer, and it is that prayer that teaches me about the humility required to be a pastor. It reads like this:
O Lord God, Thou hast made me a pastor and teacher in the Church. Thou seest how unfit I am to administer rightly this great and responsible office; and had I been without Thy aid and counsel I would surely have ruined it all long ago.
Therefore do I invoke Thee.
How gladly do I desire to yield and consecrate my heart and mouth to this ministry! I desire to teach the congregation. I, too, desire ever to learn and to keep Thy Word my constant companion and to meditate thereupon earnestly.
Use me as Thy instrument in Thy service.
Only do not Thou forsake me, for if I am left to myself,
I will certainly bring it all to destruction. Amen.
I still find humor in its honesty: if I am left to my own devices, then I will ruin it and bring it all to destruction. It is only humorous because it is blunt and painfully to the point. Without God, we have no hope of the abundant life promised to us.
Paul reminds us life itself perpetually flows from life to death to resurrection. Our passion and desire are not enough. Our skill and our connections with the right people are not enough. Finally, only God is enough, and when we willingly let ourselves die to sin, through this resurrection, we will wake up alive to God.
Don’t leave us alone, Lord, and let us die to sin that we might live for you! Amen.