There are few things more encouraging than seeing a more ‘mature’ Christian who, though frail in body, spiritually-speaking is charging ahead for Christ.
We have several of these champions at church. They are such an encouragement to me! Their lives speak volumes about the glory of perseverance and the weight of faithfulness.
The last chapters of Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor touch on various elements of the last decades of Tom Carson’s life: the reshaping of his ministry when he steps back from leading the church in Drummondville; his extensive lay involvement in the church in Hull; his tender and devoted care of his wife and his ongoing blazing faithfulness to Christ right to the end of his life.
So many various things encouraged me from these chapters that I thought I’d stick to dot points, here are some of the highlights:
· God’s graciousness in swelling up revival in Quebec after decades of dryness – imagine prayer meetings till 1am!
· The reminder that our ministry structures (our meetings, youth groups, training courses) are not sacred – they there to be started and stopped for the sake of the kingdom;
· Tom’s simply beautiful care of his ailing wife (“She looked after me all my life, it’s my turn to look after her. And it’s a privilege.” P135); and
· Tom’s spiritual tenacity in his old age – he never gives up fighting viciously against sin and clinging to Christ.
Here’s a final excerpt:
When he died, there were no crowds outside the hospital, no editorial comments in the papers, no announcements on television, no mention in Parliament, no attention paid by the nation. In his hospital room there was there was no one by his bedside. There was only the quiet hiss of oxygen, vainly venting because he had stopped breathing and would never need it again.
But on the other side all the trumpets sounded. Dad won entrance to the only throne room that matters, not because he was a good man or a great man – he was, after all, a most ordinary pastor – but because he was a forgiven man. And he heard the voice of him whom he longed to hear saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.” (p148)
The irony is, despite it’s title, after reading this book I think few people would call Tom Carson ordinary at all.