by Roy Todd

A pastor friend of mine recently succumbed to Covid-19. As a statistic, he’s just one of thousands to have fallen victim to the terrible malaise. But as a human being, his story is far more poignant than that. This man had invested the best years of his life serving God and His people. Like any pastor, he’d dealt with the joys of pastoral ministry as well as the challenges. The latter included times when he’d been on the receiving end of behaviour which was less than honourable. But with good grace and a dash of humour, he kept serving and believing to see the church grow. Sometimes though, the pain inflicted by graceless conduct nearly broke him. His wounds were real. Yet, he never allowed bitterness to contaminate his ministry.

Just two weeks prior to his passing, he’d been working hard behind the scenes to ensure his church was ready for the move online. Like many of us, he had to make numerous video announcements on social media informing his church community of how things would look for the foreseeable future. As usual, he served his heart out and arranged for care & support for the people in his church. But within a fortnight, he was felled by the very virus he sought to protect his church against. The ventilator wasn’t enough to save him.

Today, a church is mourning the loss of their shepherd. There can only be a tiny funeral service because of the lockdown. His family didn’t even get to say a proper goodbye. So sad.

No doubt the tributes will keep pouring in, and rightly so. But it got me thinking….why do we wait until it’s too late before saying what is good? Why not express appreciation now? Why not just believe the best instead of going along with the gripes and whims of the habitually disgruntled? See, when pride & ego are taken out of the equation, it’s amazing how culture shifts from dishonour to honour. If you choose to bathe your words and actions in honour, you will never regret it….ever….both in time and eternity.

The passing of my friend hit home last week…hard. This virus is real. But there’s a malady which is just as potent. It’s called pride. It’s a wrecker of relationships. It’s a destroyer of trust. It’s a divider of people. The enemy thrives on it. But it’s about time we called it out, before it’s too late. Meanwhile, the Bible challenges us to live with the high values of Christ’s Kingdom permeating every aspect of our lives. Romans 12:10 says “Honour one another above yourselves”. Nothing less will do. Humility is the vaccine which disempowers the toxic scourge of self-centredness.

Question is, when all this is over, what will ‘normal’ look like? Will there merely be a return to the old ways? Or will a new normal emerge – where gossip and toxicity are replaced by honour and appreciation? 

Me? I’m praying for a new normal to emerge. Gosh, we need it.

Meanwhile, for my friend & colleague, I honour his life. One ‘well done’ from the King makes everything worthwhile. Salute.