A pastor recently penned a letter to the editor in his town newspaper. Well, apparently this had been a regular occurrence for the man. This time the letter was written under a different set of circumstances. Robert Jennings was writing his last letter and post as he was battling a terminal illness. I am told after publishing this letter many doors have opened to the gospel in this small town….
Terri and I moved to Sedalia with one child in 1983 to pastor a new church which has met at Highway M Chapel since 1987. Alas, pancreatic cancer showed up two years ago. Apart from divine intervention, I’m near the end of the road. Permit a farewell to my dear community.
In the almost 30 years we have raised our five children, lived our lives, gone in and out of the businesses, talked on the sidewalks, preached indoors and out, and I’ve written maybe 300 letters to the editor. This appears to be the last. The song writer says, “Time, like an ever-rolling stream bears all its sons away.”
Especially being a Christian, I’ve known that life is brief, death is certain, and an appearance before the Judge of all the earth is coming. Yet, my life is more of a “disappearing vapor” than I imagined. Indeed, the one great thing in life is to be ready to die. It is simple, but big. Yes, I’d like to stay on with my family, with my church, and with the souls of men to try to serve. But God’s will is sovereign. And, I am ready to die, in that I was saved from my sins by the grace of Christ 41 years ago. Heaven is ok! This world is passing away, ruined by sin. There is no fix to all the misery. A new president cannot fix the land. Hospitals remain, law courts remain, the jail house remains, the military remains, and tears will continue to fall.
My closing exhortation to fellow-Sedalians is that Christ is the only hope. Make sure you have Him. That’s all one can have, ultimately. All else is stripped away. He will fix you; He will fix it all. He conquered the grave. I go down with a glad shout, “O grave, where is your victory?” When the Lord Jesus returns I will rise again with all the Christians to a new heavens and new earth. There is a heaven to gain; there is a hell to shun. Farewell to all. It has been a well-spent journey here in Sedalia.
Robert C. Jennings
Excerpt from Ordinary Pastor.