“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”Titus 1:7-9
I remember with great fondness my pastor when I was growing up. My pastor was and is a godly man and a man whom I admire dearly. I have a vivid memory of going into his office to talk to him about baptism, and I was in awe of his desk and the books that lined the walls of his office. He had a couch and two chairs that faced his desk and a banker’s lamp on his desk. A call to his office was often met with fear as I reverenced him and was never sure why I was being beckoned to his office.
I was in the fourth grade when I was called into his office and this time, it had nothing to do with baptism. I noticed my friends and I were all called into his office, and I was curious to see why. I sat down on the couch and made myself comfortable but then I noticed my pastor did not have a friendly look on his face. He pulled in close to us boys and the vein in his forehead begin to bulge, and he was close enough where I can smell his breath. Fear came over all of us, and we realized we were not there for a spiritual pep talk but we were in big trouble.
My friends and I had been using foul language around the school, and we were saying bad words in Spanish. We were also holding our tongue and saying normal words that came out as curse or vulgar words. We thought it was cute and funny at the time but it did not seem like such a good idea as we sat there on that couch melting under his every word. Our teacher had caught wind of our antics and told her dad who was the pastor. The pastor pointed to each one of us and named the offenses we were guilty of. We all sat there guilty and wished we could crawl underneath the carpet. I was disappointed in myself because I had let my pastor down, and I knew I was going to be in big trouble. He named each one of our dads and warned us he would tell them about our antics if we did not stop immediately. Needless to say, I never held my tongue to make it sound like bad words again, and I maintained a godly fear of my pastor.
I think of my pastor and he was man of God from whom I learned a lot. He would sing, “How Great Thou Art” with tears in his eyes and look up as if he was looking into the eyes of God. He took a stand against sin and always stood on the side of God’s Word. He didn’t change with the times and he remained true to the faith. He was all the qualifications listed in these verses, and I will be forever grateful for his leadership. I still reflect on the wisdom he gave and have incorporated the things he taught me into my life. I remember he used to say, “ A word to the wise is always sufficient.” Although I have not always followed that, it is my goal to listen to God’s Word and heed to wise advice. Pastor Dick Mercado will always be a spiritual hero in my life, and I thank God for his testimony.
Is there a man of God who has helped you in your life? Are you under the preaching of a man of God? Do you seek his godly wisdom and advice or do you seek to gain that from worldly sources? May we thank God for the pastors he places in our lives, and may we thank them for keeping a watch over us. Praise God for all those that who faithfully preach the Word, and may we be an encourager and not a discourager to the man of God.