Today a great man of God, a man of the Word finished the race. He went to be with Jesus. And, I am certain that when he came face to face with Jesus, the One whom he faithfully taught so many about, he heard the words…”Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”
I have served under several pastors in my lifetime, many of whom did not know what to do with me, but I have only had one pastor…his name is Pastor Chuck Smith. I don’t know if he ever knew that he was my pastor, but he was. He introduced himself to me and pastored me through countless hours of his teaching through the Bible, the word of God. He taught me through his recorded sermons, his commentaries, his books, and through his many exhortations over the years at a number of pastor’s conferences. He taught me about grace, about love, about heaven, and all about Jesus.
There have been hundreds and hundreds of other men just like me, many of whom have never had a personal conversation with Pastor Chuck, yet if you asked them who their pastor was, they would say the same thing, “Pastor Chuck!”
I had heard of Pastor Chuck through family members who were attending a Calvary Chapel in Colorado Springs, but it wasn’t until 1992 that the Lord, sovereignly guided me to a Pastor’s conference at Costa Mesa, California…the “Big Calvary” they called it. It was at that conference that I sat mesmerized for three days listening to messages on the importance of the Word of God, on grace and love, the role of worship, and the reality of the second coming of Jesus. And, through it all, there was the loving, unmistakable voice of Pastor Chuck directing us all to always keep the focus on Jesus.
As I sat there I was moved to tears. It had been so long a journey, fourteen long years of searching to understand the place that Christianity had in my life, and what I would come to know and love as “His church”. For so long I had been tossed to and fro by various winds of doctrine and there I sat. Finally I was hearing what church was to be about and what a healthy church was supposed to look like.
I have never looked back, and I will never go back to trying to figure out how church is supposed to be done, because through my pastor I have learned that the Bible answers every question I could ever have about my faith, the church, and the life that is to come.
It was there all along, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, preserved for thousands of years. The Bible. How did I miss it? Because no one ever told me how important it was, how inclusive it was, and how comprehensive it was. That is until 1992, when my pastor told me.
Pastor Chuck demonstrated a faithfulness to teach the full counsel of God’s word till the very end. He demonstrated an unwavering determination to serve Jesus with everything he had for no other reason than the fact that he believed everything that was written in the Bible. He showed me that that was reason enough.
I will miss Pastor Chuck greatly…but I will hold the legacy he has left behind always near to my heart. He is the only Pastor who every really knew what to do with me, even though he never knew it. Why? Because through God’s word, he always pointed me to Jesus.