IN HONOR OF LONG HAUL PASTORS
My Encounter with "Moses"
by Bill Allison of www.cadreministries.com
Something crazy and God-like happened to me on Sunday, September 12, 2004, during my
ministry to the community of Chrisman, IL (population 1,200). The churches in that town
rallied together for a combined church service in the city square in the morning--and later at
an evening youth service. God showed up...and he was looking for me.
The scene: After the morning community service. I've finished speaking, and I am
simply connecting with the people of Chrisman in the city square:
"Ninety-eight years old
tomorrow?" I asked incredulously. "That's right, I'll be ninety-eight years old tomorrow,"
said the man in a voice that could barely be heard. He looked much stronger than his voice
"What did you do for work?" I asked.
"I was in the ministry for seventy-two years. That's why you can barely hear me.
Over the years, I preached so much that I preached my voice out."
I don't know exactly what happened in my heart at that moment other than to say
that it was like an electrical shock ran through my body. God got my attention. Here was
the man that I hope to be some day--a man who faithfully preached God's Word until his
voice finally gave out.
I asked curiously, "Were you married?"
He said, "I was married to the best minister's wife in the world. We were married
and did ministry together for seventy years." He looked away from me for a moment and
continued, "She has been in Heaven now for the last four years." He looked to his right and
left and said, "Two of my sons are with me today."
It began to dawn on me that I was in the presence of a man I want to be like with all
my heart. I was not about to lose this opportunity. So I went into sponge/learner mode as fast
as I could--determined not to lose one bit of this opportunity to sit at the feet of this
experienced godly man. "What advice would you give to a young preacher like me?" I asked
Without a second of hesitation, he said, "Preach the Word! That is exactly what I
tried to do my whole life. So I say preach the Word!" I've read this exhortation in Scripture
many, many times. Even at my official commissioning and licensing for the ministry, the same
words were said. And they were meaningful to me then. But somehow, coming from this
gentle senior saint, it felt like it was coming from Moses himself!
Thinking back to a conversation I had with a very discouraged ministry friend last
week, and knowing that the number one reason many leave vocational ministry is because of
discouragement, I asked, "Were you ever deeply discouraged during your seventy-two years
"Yes, I was discouraged from time to time. But it was God's Word that kept me
going. I knew God wanted me to preach his Word since I was fourteen. I preached my first
sermon when I was seventeen. Throughout my life, God's Word has sustained me--even
during the discouraging times."
Again, I've heard this, knew this, and even said similar things. But somehow, because
of his years of experience with walking with God, his authentic words drilled deep into my
Other people from the community began to approach our small circle and engage me
in conversation. I watched out of the corner of my eye as this man and his two sons slowly
walked away. My heart began to race. I was filled with urgency. I MUST ASK THIS MAN
TO PRAY FOR ME! The man and his sons were about twenty-five yards away from me
when I suddenly ran to them. I did not mean to be rude to the people who had gathered
around me, but I HAD to do this. When I caught up with them, I said from behind them, "Sir,
will you please put your hands on me and pray for me?"
I could not believe those words came out of my mouth. But I felt COMPELLED to
have this man pray for me.
He turned around to look me right in the eyes. His eyes widened and he immediately
placed his hands on my shoulders and, in that sweet, raspy, and worn out voice prayed the
most beautiful quiet prayer of blessing I have ever heard. He prayed that I would flourish in
my relationship with God, my wife, and my kids. He prayed I would be faithful to preach the
Word. He prayed God would bless me and my ministry beyond all I could ever ask or
think--for God's glory. As he prayed I quietly began to weep. I was thinking two things:
1) This must be what it was like to receive the blessing of a patriarch in the Old Testament,
and 2) Am I nuts? Am I starting to unravel emotionally here? The answer to this last
question--yes. But as crazy as this whole deal was--I KNEW God was in it--and I am glad I
listened to the Spirit's voice and promptings.
When he pronounced the "amen," his two sons and I looked up--and I could see one
was weeping like I was--and the other was also glassy-eyed. I made eye contact with the man
of God and as I went to say "thank you" I could not get the words out because a flood of new
tears came. I finally regained my composure, shook the man's hand in gratitude, and watched
them walk away.
Frankly, God did something so deep in my heart in this brief encounter with this
senior saint that I am still processing it. But it was deep and it was God--and I will never
forget it. In some strange God-way, I feel like I received a blessing from Moses himself.
As is often the case, I went to minister, but ended up getting ministered to.
You're invited to respond to Bill if you want to share how God used this story to speak to
you: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2004 Bill Allison. Permission is granted to send
this to others, but not for commercial purposes.