Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
We will all arrive at a moment when we can say, “I’ve run the race. I have kept the faith.” (1 Timothy 4:7) For Sandy and me, an important milestone has come into view. They call it retirement, but the race is not nearly finished. The Christian life is a relay race. Here’s the baton. Run.
When transition and change come into our lives, after all the time and trials that have gone before, it inevitably seems to have come quickly. I am very thankful to report that I feel too young to have become this old. But, here it is, and as always, we will do the best we can with what we have. The best thing is that Jesus our Lord gives us all things truly worth having.
Alongside John and Denise, Sandy and I have served here at West Salem for about thirteen years. Over the course of our life of service, we have been pastors for thirty-six. Here’s the path we took: Planted a church in Southern Idaho in our twenties; some business experience between; then served with the team of the great Evangelist, Luis Palau; then planted and shepherded a wonderful congregation in Aloha (up near Hillsboro) for fifteen years; and finally here with you in Salem.
Like our marriage (forty-four years of uninterrupted happiness), serving as shepherds among folks like you has brought us joy and victory. Our trophy and reward is the growth and love we have seen in your soul as you choose day after day to follow Jesus. He has more and more for you, if only you will call upon Him, wait for Him, and do what He tells you. It’s really pretty simple.
Closing an office is a surprising thing. The files and the books have been opening every reminder and every picture of how we have all blended our hearts together in the goodness of the Lord. The Lord God has breathed life into us and kept us as His children. His love is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. I believe that, for our part, we are leaving the Church at West Salem better than when we arrived. Yes, many of the faces have morphed through the years as changes have unfolded. But healing is dynamic in those who are here, as well as in those beloved ones who have been called elsewhere. In this place, we look to Jesus and believe Him.
We have come to a milestone, not a gravestone. And there is much more to do wherever we go. After a brief nap, I will spend a short time as interim pastor for our Foursquare Church in Lincoln City. They will welcome a new pastor in the coming months.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 20-21)
I will always remember and be thankful for your love and friendship.
Your brother and fellow servant,
Pastor Richard Marshall