It’s been two weeks since my childhood pastor, Jim Morgan, passed away. It had been a while since I had spent any significant time with him, and I didn't know him as well as I wish I had. I hope to get that opportunity in the coming kingdom. Nevertheless, he played a significant role in my younger years. On several occasions, he took me to knock on doors or make hospital visits when I was a kid. He and his wife took care of me and my siblings when my parents left town for my mom's cancer treatments (my mom recounted to me the other day how much of a blessing he was to her during those days). I looked up to him. During these years I even became a Yankees fan because of his influence!
He was my pastor, but, as strange as this might sound, I don't think I can recall a single thing he said from the pulpit. That's not a critique of his abilities as a preacher—I was young and immature in the faith—but a striking illustration of the power of a life. Although I can remember very few words that he spoke to me, I don't think an hour has passed in the days since his passing in which I haven't thought of him or his example. I remember the way that he would stop and listen—genuinely listen—to people. I remember the way he would gently comfort or encourage those who were hurting. I remember how he would stop and pray with people no matter where they happened to be. I remember his love for Scripture. I remember his love for Christ. I remember how down-to-earth he was. I remember his kindness and humility. His life is a reminder to me that we won’t only be remembered for the words we speak, but for also for the life we live and the love we exhibit.
A book was published recently on the heart of Christ entitled Gentle and Lowly. The title comes from Matthew 11:29. The description is, of course, of Jesus, but as I've reflected on my memories of pastor Morgan, I can't help but notice the connection. He was a gentle and lowly pastor. I praise God for his example of Christlikeness! Paul said, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). In Philippians he echoes this thought, but also encourages us to find others who live in a Christlike way and "keep your eyes on" them (Phil. 3:17). I'm grateful that God has put people like Jim Morgan in my life to watch and learn from. I’m thankful for the memories that I have of him, as well as the legacy that lives on through his family, which will function as a godly example to me for many years to come.
You can read pastor Morgan’s obituary here.