...much we need thy tender care"—and oh, how he leads and cares for those of us who are His! This past weekend I had the honor of attending the funeral of my mentor, Dr. Morton Rose. He was a mentor to many pastors over the years. In fact, last year, he shared his blessing of leadership training with my son, Joel. Joel went to his home once a week for several weeks to learn principles and paradigms that rocked my world when I first crossed paths with Dr. Rose in 1995. Last week, Dr. Rose heard Jesus say, "Well done, my precious servant!"
Dr. Rose was one of the folks I ministered to while serving at the Baptist Home in Ozark, Missouri. He reminded me on my first Sunday that there is "no such thing as a bad short sermon!" When we met, Dr. Rose was the Director of the Doctor of Ministry
program at Midwestern Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. At the height of his ministry career, he was the Vice President of what was then called The Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville. The organization was so large it had its own zip code! He led the portion of the organization that printed and distributed curriculum all over the world for the Southern Baptist agency. In fact, today if you open an adult Sunday School quarterly, you will find the plan of salvation on the inside front cover. He started having that printed there many years ago. He was a leader!
When I was blessed to be allowed to be Dr. Rose’s pastor, he told me he retired from being Dr. Rose many years earlier. He preferred to be just Morton. It was hard, but I learned that to respect a man I loved dearly, I would call him by his preferred salutation. Today, Morton’s earthly shell lies in the soil where he grew up in Pulaski County, Missouri. Oh, how he rests in peace!
You see, Morton climbed some tall obstacles to lead a very successful life in service to the One who led him like a shepherd who leads His sheep. In his resilience, Morton adjusted his life so that instead of being large and in charge, he was happy being just another resident in a nursing home! Very happy! I will always remember our long visits in his home. He explained that where he lived was never designed to be a democracy. He placed his care under the authority of people who provided oversight for his care. He explained that as other people griped and complained about everything from maintenance, to the cost of rent, he chose to trust the process. It was not easy knowing he had better leadership skills than those leading him, but he chose to be flexible and find peace at the end of his life. I am still learning how to be that pliable, moldable, and usable by the Lord In service to His people.
One of Morton’s most precious pieces of direction for me came from the biblical role of the pastor. As pastors we are called to be Kingdom builders in a climate where many pastors seek to build empires. Today, I pray for you as you build the kingdom where God has planted you. May we remain usable in the hand of the Shepherd who leads us. Rest in Peace, Morton.
...‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ —Matthew 25:21