I woke up this morning to hear that one of my close mentors and friend had passed away. His name was Rev. Frank Tiller. In his honor, I wanted this WOTD to share in the humble joy of his passing knowing that Frank gets to see Jesus and His wife today. Frank was a great man of God. And he helped to steer my call and ministry for many years.
The Word of God proclaims, 12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. 1 Thes. 5:12-13
Frank was an old-time pastor. He was the kind of pastor who you knew loved you first, and then he told you about Jesus. He was a selfless man who gave up many things to serve the Lord. He served in the smaller churches and spent much of his life ministering just outside of the spotlight. He was a humble man of God that many took advantage of and a minister who rarely received admonishment. He was a humble servant, and in his humility, the Lord used Him to do many great things.
For me, I had the privilege of growing up with pastor Frank since I was a teenager. He was one of the first men outside of my own family that I truly felt loved me, and that impacted me greatly. For there was no reason for him to invest and show such interest in my life, yet he did anyway.
It was pastor Frank who guided me as I tried to figure out my own call to ministry. And he lifted me up and helped to empower me to serve. My first sermon was given in a pulpit that he yielded to me. My first license to preach had his signature on it. And for many years, I was blessed to share in many conversations that helped to guide me in the turbulent waters of ministry. Even when I left the Church of the Nazarene, he was always there to lift up, to guide, and rebuke me when it was needed.
Why are we called to appreciate our pastors? We are called to love our pastors because they love us very much. Some of that love can be seen in their actions as they teach, counsel, serve, rebuke, restore and pray for us. However, like an iceberg that only reveals a small portion of it size, a pastor’s love toward his flock is unmeasurable in many ways.
I know that Frank lifted me up in prayer. I know that Frank shed tears over me as I faced similar hardships in ministry. He sacrificed time with his own family to train and mentor me. Instead of making more memories with his own grandchildren, he sacrificed those moments to sit with struggling pastors like me.
We honor Rev. Frank Tiller because he didn’t just labor among us as a minister of Jesus Christ. He did so diligently. He did so without complaint. His devotion to Jesus and His call was seen in every aspect of his life as He loved the unlovable and gave grace to those who needed mercy.
As you know, October is pastor appreciation month. If you are a Christian reading this message today, you are doing so because there is a pastor somewhere that has loved you. The life of a minister is a hard one. We love others until we have nothing left of ourselves to give. We leave this world humble and broken as the love we share bears us much suffering in this life. Many will never know the extent of the wounds and the scars our pastors carry as they continue to serve the Lord in His power and joy.
Therefore, honor those that love you deeply and have been given charge over your spiritual journey. Make it easy for them to love you. And as most pastors are too humble to seek out any appreciation or spotlight as they serve God in humility, take some time to make a concerted effort in thanking them for the time and energy they spend helping you to grow closer to God.
I will miss Frank, but I will not mourn for such a man of God. For I know that he has already heard the words all humble servants of the Lord seek so desperately to hear. To stand in meekness before the Lord; to feel His hand on our cheek lifting our eyes to see His face in all of His glory, and for Him to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Thank you Rev. Frank Tiller for serving the Lord. And thank you for loving me.