I’m not a heavy traveler. I haven’t reached “Joe Thorn” or “Mike Abendroth” status when it comes to speaking engagements and travel (those guys will love that I name dropped). But there are times when any of us who pastor are far away and can’t get back to our flocks very easily.
This happened to me this last week. Before I left for a conference, a dear saint, a founding member of our assembly passed away. I knew that all the travel plans were set and the funeral plans had not been, so I decided to go ahead and go, knowing that I could change my flights to get back in time for the funeral as the plans became more firm.
Once I received the call concerning the plans, I made arrangements to fly back early from the conference to officiate the memorial and comfort this brand new widow, who would’ve been married to her husband for 62 years in just one month. It was all set, I was going to be able to make it in plenty of time, except God had other plans.
Late into the night it looked like the area where I would have laid over got hit with a snow storm. Early in the morning I watched with heartache as flight after flight was cancelled. Confirmation came by way of an automated phone call, that I would indeed not be able to make it back in time.
What was I to do? The only thing I could, which was depend on the Biblical pattern of elder plurality and call on one of my fellow shepherds to well, shepherd. He did not do this reluctantly, but joyfully.
Of the many extremely evident providences of this matter, one that shined through was plurality of elders matters. I had every confidence that my brother elder would serve as the Holy Spirit raised shepherd that he is. It was no surprise to me that these are the reports I received.
Brother pastors who may read this, surround yourself with godly men, who don’t stand in the gap for you, but stand in the gap with you as all of you serve as undershepherds of the One True Shepherd! I am thankful that all the elder/pastors with whom I serve are such men.