Reminiscing about his many years of service to God, this past Sunday friends and family, past and present members all gathered to honor Pastor Ken Aune as he retired from 39 years of faithful ministry. My husband Lowe and I joined many who traveled to this Evangelical Free Church (EFCA) in Cary, NC which Ken started in 1994, to celebrate a life of faithfulness to God. A servant, who had run the race well and finished well, planting two churches in Nebraska and North Carolina, influencing hundreds of lives with the gospel of Jesus.
Ken joins a host of pastors, missionaries, and teachers who have given most of their lives to serve God in ministry without much recognition from the world. Like many, he preached thousands of sermons, visited the sick, married couples, baptized believers (including our daughter), shared the good news of Jesus and prayed for those who needed God in their lives. These are the faithful who continue to plant seeds for the gospel of Jesus trusting God daily for spiritual fruit.
You may know about the great servants of God – King David, Daniel, Peter and John, and Paul but have you heard of Epaphras, Tychicus, Onesimus, and Silas? We may not know much about them but they too are listed as faithful servants of Christ:
“…Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ…” Colossians 1:7
“Tychicus…is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” Colossians 4:7
“…Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you” Colossians 4:9
“With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother,” 1 Peter 5:12
Paul, an apostle of Jesus, desired faithfulness in his calling to preach the gospel. He said, “However, I consider my life nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” Acts 20:24 And after a faithful life of following Jesus, enduring hardships, beatings, imprisonments, hunger, sleepless nights, and hard work (2 Corinthians 6:3-11), Paul could finally say:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
As followers of Jesus how can we be faithful to the course God gives us in a society that so easily quits? Where every day people walk away and say, “I just can’t do this anymore.”? We need to lean on Jesus – abiding with him, trusting in his words that encourage us, asking for his power to produce the fruit of faithfulness in our lives.
Have you already quit or considered leaving what God has called you to do? Are you not seeing success as the world counts success? Are you burned out and tired? God is your strength. He sees your faithfulness. His view of success is daily obedience and faithfulness to his calling no matter the results.
“To the faithful you show yourself faithful…” Psalm 18:25
“the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.” Psalm 37:28
Has God given you a ministry to others in a church or on a mission field? Then be faithful to serve trusting God for the results.
Has God given you a family to provide for? Then be faithful to work hard and trust God to provide.
Has God given you a husband or wife? Then be faithful to each other, serving each other.
Has God given you a season of being single? Then be faithful to be pure and holy in your singleness.
Has God given you children to teach and raise up to know him? Then be faithful to take care of them, teaching and training them to know God.
Has God given you the opportunity to be a student? Then be faithful to study, making wise use of your time.
Has God given you someone to serve – an aging parent, a handicapped child, or someone who is sick? Then be faithful to serve knowing you are serving Christ (Colossians 3:23)
As believers in Jesus, God calls us to be faithful and someday he will reward us for our faithfulness on earth. “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” Revelations 22:12
Even though our friend, Ken, is finishing this part of the race by retiring from his church, I know he will continue to be faithful to God in whatever is next for him. May we daily abide with Jesus making it our only aim to “finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.”