For more than eight years, I have been privileged at times to share this “Minister’s Moment” space provided by the Kilgore News Herald with Charlotte Austin, Justin Langley, and Will Wilson, and I look forward to sharing it going forward with Jonathan Latham.
I know that many in the community join me in thanking not only God and the columnists but also the newspaper’s past and current publishers and editors for publishing these columns, even though columns may diverge from their own and the other ministers’ views.
The Kilgore area has quite a number of churches and so also quite a number of pastors. Some of those pastors are more active than others in writing for the newspaper and in clergy organizations, such as what is now the Kilgore Ministerial Fellowship, the Clergy and Police Alliance, and the more-recent clergy efforts to promote racial harmony.
Whether in a newspaper column or in other media, God can use any church and clergyman for good, to the extent that they proclaim the truth of God’s Word. I am reminded of the Divinely-inspired St. Paul’s charge to his younger colleague St. Timothy, part of which is the motto of one of my seminaries, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV).
Ultimately the Holy Spirit uses God’s Word both as law to indict all people of their sin and as Gospel to forgive sin for the sake of the God-man Jesus Christ, Who died on the cross for us and then rose again from the grave. God gives the repentant that forgiveness in Holy Baptism, individual Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. There are hardly more important themes than these, though certainly not everyone agrees on that.
St. Paul went on to warn Timothy, “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV).
So, not only on a designated “Clergy Appreciation Day” (October 11 this year) but always, let us all thank God for those faithful pastors who do as St. Timothy was to do: always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill their ministry (2 Timothy 4:5).
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.