Regular readers of my blog will remember me mentioning my dear friend, the late Reverend H.B. London.
H.B. was Focus on the Family’s “Pastor to Pastors” for over 20 years, a devoted shepherd who understood the challenges of ministry because he served several churches for more than two decades.
Today is the one-year anniversary of H.B.’s promotion to Glory, and so I thought it would be appropriate to use this occasion to remember a good man – and encourage all of you to thank your pastor for the incalculable contribution they are making in your life and the lives of others.
H.B. designated October as “Pastor Appreciation Month” back in the ‘90s, and the tradition has grown through the years.
There are many days when I wish I could pick up the phone and call my buddy, who at the time of his death was still pastoring a church out in Palm Desert, California. H.B. made me laugh and always provided needed perspective.
The Lord may have silenced this saint, but he left behind a treasure trove of sermons, books and articles. Here are some of my favorites of his observations:
- “I am doing whatever I can in every opportunity I am given, knowing that for me and for you it is all day-to-day. Each day is a gift.”
- “Each of us is just one decision away from failure, and none of us is immune to temptations and weaknesses.”
- “God loves you as though you were the only one in the world to love and that makes you a very special person.”
- “It seems strange when I can’t see Pikes Peak, the 14,000-foot peak in our town. But I am reminded of a truth I heard from an old pastor years ago. He said, ‘Remember, son, even when the clouds hide the beauty of the mountains … the mountains are still there.’ He was right. Beyond the fog of doubt, God is still there.”
- “We need to learn again that God’s truth is the greatest message we can teach a person.”
- “What is the impossible dream you think about, pray about, and talk about? Begin to live that impossible dream.”
- “There are no small assignments, and none of you is insignificant in any way.”
- “God does not measure success by numbers. Neither should we.”
A colleague of mine recently passed along a touching essay about pastors that was written many decades ago by a writer named Dan Valentine, who penned a column for the Salt Lake City Tribune for over 30 years.
When I read it, I think of my friend, H.B. –
What is a Minister?
People are his calling … He’s the man who’s always there …
He cushions sorrow, repairs souls, lights the way, sells hope … and dispenses brotherhood.
He’s strong when there is a need for strength
…He is compassionate when there is a need for compassion.
He’s a minister.
He is part philosopher … part family friend.
He is part spiritual adviser … part teacher, part optimist … part dreamer … part builder.
He is on constant call to his community … Night and day, winter and summer … at any hour … he is on duty, ready to serve in time of need.
He’s the man who is always there … He’s a minister.
With warmth and feeling, he cushions sorrow … With energy and enthusiasm, he builds for tomorrow … With efficiency and experience he handles the one and one thousand details of running a successful organization …
With protocol and good taste he handles the hundreds of human relationship problems that fall in his path …
He’s the man who is always there. He’s a minister.
He is flower-arranger, music expert, friend, companion, host, public relations man, fundraiser, mortgage expert, recreation director, speaker, humanist … and strong arm to hold on to in time of trouble.
He has the dignity of an ambassador, he has the efficiency of a corporation executive … and the genuine friendliness of a good neighbor.
He has a sympathetic ear, an understanding soul, a friendly smile … and the knowledge gained over the years, that the real hope of the world depends on love, understanding and faith in God.
He believes in beauty … He believes that all human beings should love each other …
He believes in serenity. He knows the value of spiritual peace … and serene surroundings.
He believes in tolerance … and the dignity of all races and of all creeds.
He believes in service to his community … He knows that his profession demands integrity and sacrifice.
He accepts the responsibility of leadership in time of need.
He’s the man who’s always there. He’s a minister.
He is a civic leader … community builder … contributor to progress. He’s an institution in his town.
He’s a public servant … to all mankind.
In time of need, he’s the most valuable man on Main Street.
He’s the man who is always there …
He’s a minister.
And if I might add … He was the late Reverend H.B. London.
Years before his death, H.B., wrote, “I can’t get over the fact that my life has passed so quickly. The truth is, today is all you have. Yesterday has passed. Tomorrow has not arrived. So make the most of what you have – and do it with no regrets!”
Thanks for the reminder, dear brother. We’ll see you soon.