Jenny said it best after our meeting with Derek when she commented, “Meeting with Derek Prime has been the highlight of our trip.” I would wholeheartedly agree. How can that be? We flew into and toured Croatia and then off to Austria. We ventured into Italy and then a day in Salzburg. And if that were not enough we landed in London, drove through England and into Scotland to tour a city that is centuries old with sights hard to comprehend. Who is Derek Prime? He is gentlest soul I have ever met.
After 84 years of life, Derek exudes an enviable love for Jesus with the fewest of words spoken. He has a loose hold of the things of this this side of heaven with a sure understanding of how temporal this world is. In his twilight years he has purposed his heart to be active in his devotions, to keep his mind keen through reading and writing. He is intentional in his involvement in a book club in order to be around unbelievers and another opportunity to share the love of Jesus which he does by simply entering a room.
I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon the book “On Being A Pastor” written by Derek Prime and Alistair Begg. Alistair is from Scotland and served as Derek’s assistant for just over two years. The original book was actually written by Derek, but prior to being published in America, Derek thought it might be good to have an American perspective on the various aspects of being a pastor and invited Alistair to participate. It was a book that the Lord put into my path not long after starting the church. It is a must read for every pastor elder of every church.
We were privileged to have visited with Derek in his home for over two hours while visiting Edinburgh, Scotland. The time of talking with Derek flew by as we heard the stories of his conversion, his time in the military and decades of service to Jesus which will be forever etched upon my heart. I only wish I could have recorded it to listen to it again and again reminding me of this wonderful call to be a Christian and the privilege of being a pastor. Earlier I had written a blog post “The Simplicity of Jesus” not realizing that I would experience it first hand that very afternoon.
“We mustn’t be proud of our grandchildren but grateful.”
There are so many things Derek said that impacted us. We cherished every moment sitting in his living room, hearing the stories of people he knew, countries he visited, and humbly speaking of numerous opportunities he had been given to minister in Edinburgh and other parts of the world. He tenderly spoke of his family, in particular his wife and a daughter who have since gone to heaven. I loved listening to the confidence he had of how real heaven is. In fondly speaking of his grandson who had recently accompanied him to a wedding in London Derek said, “We mustn’t be proud of our grandchildren but grateful.”
Our time ended with farewells, a couple of pictures and Derek walking us out of his flat. In accompanying us down the hall he stopped at a window and pointed out a small canal that went by his apartment complex. As it turned out, what seemed like an ordinary small body of water, turned out to be the canal in which Robert Murray M’Cheyne transported his household goods from one of the three homes he lived in while residing in Edinburgh. Don’t see a lot of that sort of thing in Puyallup.
Do yourself a favor and take 10 minutes to listen to Derek’s Testimony. He shared it at Charlotte Chapel, a church he pastored in Edinburgh for some 17 years. You will be blessed as you listen to this gentle man speak of the challenges of growing old and the joyful expectation of heaven. Furthermore, you will get a minute glimpse of what Jenny and I experienced, not on a video or in a church, but in the peaceful setting of a Scottish flat in Edinburgh over a hot cup of tea.