I delivered my last Bible study here at Light and Life Park in Florida this past Sunday night, and Kathleen and I and our daughter, Carolyn, are now packing to leave for points north on Thursday morning, April 11.
The pastor of Light and Life Park where we spend our winters, Reverend John Hendricks, is about to retire after 58 continuous years in pastoral ministry. He will preach his retirement sermon on April 28.
I have long considered the pastorate a high and holy calling, and John Hendricks is a prime example of a life’s response to that calling. He has lived it out week in and week out, in honorable fashion for such a long spread of time.
Because Kathleen and I will not be present for his last Sunday, I shared with the congregation at the outset of my evening Bible study last evening the following tribute:
Not only does Pastor John manifest nobility and faithfulness as a pastor, but he is also, by the grace of God, the most multi-talented pastor I have known. He could have chosen any one of several careers. For example, he could have been a teacher of English, sharing freely with college classes his love for words and his mastery of language. He could have chosen a career in music, either as a performer or a director, and his inborn vocal talent and musical soul would have served his audiences well.
He could have been a thespian; his marvelous memory would have made him equal to the challenge of many roles. He could even have been a comedian, using his wit, his comedic flare and his natural sense of timing to delight audiences near and far.
But, by the grace of God, and in the mystery of that grace, during his early youth John responded instead to an inward call of God to the pulpit and the parish. In so doing, under the Spirit’s anointing he made the above combination of gifts the servants of the Gospel to congregations for a lifetime.
While for various reasons other ministers have sometimes shifted to other assignments, he has stayed and shared this set of gifts with local congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ across a pastoral lifetime. In doing so he has blessed more souls than we can number.
Now, we will follow him and his wife Bobbie with our prayers as they look forward to opening the next chapter of their life together. May they enjoy the provident care of a God who has blessed them to date in abundant ministry. And by the same grace that drew John to the pastoral life, and Bobbie with him, may our Lord favor him with continuing opportunities to use his gifts to the extent his passions prompt and his strength allows.
Benediction: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen!