When I was a kid I really enjoyed it! I watched him being home in the mornings and a few times in the afternoon when I returned from school. I would see him reading in his office and receiving visitors to talk with. I would see him preach at least 4 times a week, dressed in a suit, behind a pulpit which allowed me to see the value in him as a father and as a pastor.
When I was a preteen, I began to develop some worries because I thought “my dad didn’t work.” He would spend his time in his office and visiting homes of people who would invite him to eat and talk. I enjoyed it when his visits were to my friends’ homes, but many other times I had to accompany him to homes that seemed boring to me because there was nothing to do and I had to wait for him quietly, in the living room. That was my father, the pastor.
When I was teen I began to be bothered by the knot of his tie because although it always looked perfect, to my “liking” many times I thought it not necessary. He was always talking about the Bible and always taking care of others. Several times we had to receive people at home and feed them. Sometimes I had to lend my room so a family or a guest could rest, and many times our family schedule was affected by someone else’s needs. That is what my father was like, a pastor.
“What is this all about?” I thought on endless number of occasions.
” When does your work start and where does it end?” I questioned.
” Why can’t we be a normal family?” was my harshest question.
As the years have gone by, now that I have a family, remembering every experience lived in my father’s house, the pastor, I thank God because my family was not a “normal family.”
Many may not appreciate the value of a pastor, but let me tell you, I do.
My father, the pastor, was able to combine his love for God and his family during every day of my childhood to serve the Church. My father, the pastor, made the effort to wake up early to see me before I went out to school and a greater effort as many times as he could, to come back to eat with us when I came home.
My father, the pastor, was able to help me with my duties even as he prepared his sermons to preach at church.
My father, the pastor, made every visit that was necessary and even some that were not. He ate with joy and appreciation what they offered him, and listened, sometimes for hours, to what people would tell him whether just to vent or seeking counsel.
My father, the pastor, often dressed in his customary suit to be presentable at any moment to share the Word. He did this, not because he always wanted to, but because he sought to reflect with neatness and respect what Jesus had done in his life and represent him worthily. My father, the pastor, was a man capable of discussing everything and with everyone about various subjects, but always grounding his source to a single book, and counsel based on the Word of God.
My father, the pastor, often without telling me, ate a little less, or slept uncomfortable to lovingly serve the needy and embrace at home someone who needed to experience the love of a family.
Finally, my father, the pastor, was able to teach me without words that “serving the Lord” is not a job that has a schedule or pay, because the Lord owns everything and when one decides to “work” for him, it is always a good time to “serve others.”
In this month of “Pastor Recognition”, while I remember my father, the pastor, I want to share from the words expressed by Paul in his letter to the Hebrews: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Hebrews13:7
Dad, today I remember you and I value your pastoral work very much. Thank you for always sharing, faithfully and as clearly as possible the word of God with words and actions. Today I consider what the result of your life was and I can see, as I observe the passing of time, that you discipled many to follow the Lord with faith and passion.
Today I reflect on your faith, and every day I strive to imitate that which was your dedication and passion for God and for your family.
Many may not value your efforts as a pastor, but let me tell you that God, and we your family, value you very much as a father who pastored well his home.
I love you, Dad, my pastor.
Jonathan Bernal, better known as Jony, is a Mexican national, currently an associate pastor at la Iglesia del Nazareno in Monterrey, Templo San Pablo. He is also a pastor and advisor to the JNI (NYI) of the northeastern district of Mexico.
He is the son of Pastor Arturo Bernal Valadez who pastored for 45 years. Now retired together with his wife, Pastor Esther Costilla they currently serve jointly as counseling pastors in the Sexta iglesia del Nazareno in Monterrey.
Jony has developed a beautiful family with Berenice Lozano, with whom he has two beautiful children, David and Isa.
You can follow Jony Bernal at:
Tranlated by: Bruce Wilson