Pastor Richard Izzard
A bricklayer spent the day setting bricks high up on the wall of a two-story building. At the end of the day he was satisfied both with the quality and the quantity of the bricks that were set.
But that night a terrific storm with drenching rains and high winds struck the area. Afraid that the storm had done damage to his work the day before, he left for work early and was disheartened by the damage that was caused by the storm, both loosening and dislodging some of the bricks.
He began the repairs by first building a pulley system that enabled him to hoist up and let down a barrel once it had been filled with the damaged bricks. He began by raising the barrel to the place of damage, tying it off below and then climbing to the top of the wall to fill the barrel.
Everything was going as planned until he climbed down to release the rope and lower the now filled barrel. It was then that he realized the filled barrel was heavier than he was, and while still holding the rope, he was instantly pulled off his feet and headed up at a top rate of speed. Unfortunately, he met the barrel coming down causing the first of his cuts and bruises. When he reached the top, the barrel hit the bottom and in doing so spilled its contents, which now made him heavier than the barrel causing him to come down, at a high rate of speed, hitting the barrel causing even more cuts and bruises. He landed hard on the spilled pile of bricks sustaining more damage. He then absent-mindedly let go of the rope causing the barrel to descend at a high rate of speed hitting him on his head causing a concussion.
Some days ministry is like that. The coronavirus has added complication upon complication with no immediate end in sight. But let’s not forget that we do have one source of strength and hope and joy that can not and will not be taken from us, and that is the promise of our Lord, “I will be with you always.” Isaiah wrote, “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“For such a time as this,” in the midst of uncertainty, chaos, fear and worry, we have the message that will not only get us through, but enables us to be “more than conquerors” through Him who loves us. This is a time as God’s people to come together, to “be of one mind,” to love and support one another, to be even more like Christ, reminding ourselves that He is Lord and as the Head of the Church, He has made good on his promise to send a Helper who walks alongside of us to encourage and to build us up.
In fifty years of ministry I have never faced a challenge like what Pastors are facing today. There are and will be days when we will all feel like the bricklayer. People support one another, Pastors love your people, and people show support for your Pastor with an extra added dose of encouragement. And whatever else we do, do not let the devil use this crisis to serve his purposes.
4/2/2020 09:41:19 am
Dear Pastor Izzard, thank you so much for your beautiful and uplifting story. While we cannot understand why this is happening, your last sentence was so powerful and bears repeating over and over.
4/2/2020 10:19:44 am
4/2/2020 10:31:31 am
Thank you Pr. Izzard. I needed that boost. Wishing you and Eileen well during these trying times and looking forward to seeing you again at Gethsemane in Hackettstown.
4/2/2020 10:30:16 pm
I remember a song (from isaiah I think) that I learned in a Catholic school - "Be not afraid". Talking about crossing the burning sands and raging waters and things like that. This is just one more storm trying to shake us from our anchor - and the one doing the saking is failing miserably! We have a Lord that conquered death; what's a virus or temporary setback compared to that! Thanks for reminding us of our anchor.
4/3/2020 12:11:26 pm
Great message, Pastor Izzard! I hold you, Eileen, and your family members in my prayers. Hoping to see you soon, when we can all be back at King of Kings!
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