Well Done Faithful Servant (A tribute to CE Jacobs)
My writing today is inspired by a long time pastor friend who passed away yesterday. I was certainly saddened by this news, and although we never served together on staff, Bro Jacobs was a true spiritual mentor. Gospel gratitude compels me to reflect on this spiritual giant of a man. When I was very young and in my home church in Campbellsville, I was in a ministry called RA's. (Royal Ambassadors for those of you who were not familiar with Southern Baptist mission education talk). My leaders were a young couple from Campbellsville College, Virgil and Jeanette Parker. Little did I know but Jeanette was Bro Jacob's daughter. This young couple taught me the importance of missions and growing in my faith as a young kid I didn't fully grasp at the time; but have precious memories of.
Fast Forward to 2001. I was called to my first full-time ministry assignment at Pleasant Hill Baptist in Somerset KY. This was the church that Bro Jacob's pastored for over 20 years. I really didn't know him well at the time but, he sought to get to know me. Over several phone conversations, visits and meals, Bro Jacob's was quickly becoming a mentor to me. On one occasion I was having difficulty with a particular member at PHBC, and I sought Bro. Jacob's counsel. His words and encouragement were thoughtful and understandable. He told me, "A bulldog can whoop a skunk, but is it worth it". In other words some fights aren't worth fighting. It is un-telling how often I have reminded myself of that or even said it in consultation.
One thing I always appreciated about Bro Jacobs was his heart for missions. When Bro Jacobs began pastoring Pleasant Hill, they gave very little to the Cooperative Program through the SBC. So Bro Jacobs made a deal with the church that for every year that he was their pastor that the church would increase mission giving by 1%. Like I said earlier he served as their pastor over 20 years, And they honored that, and Bro Jacobs held them accountable to it. I always admired his vision to expand the Kingdom through missions.
My last visit with Bro Jacobs happened in February of this year, (Pre-COVID) of course, He was living in a elderly community and I had stopped by to check on him and his precious wife Francis. I could tell he was getting weaker, he asked what I was doing in town. To which I replied "Selling bibles, trying to make an honest living". He was one of the few guys who appreciated my sense of humor. We talked and prayed together and I thanked him for his investment in me. Gospel Gratitude! I am so thankful to have spent the brief time I had with him, he made a lasting impact on my life and ministry. Well Done Faithful Servant, you now have your reward.
If you took time to read this, please say a prayer of peace and comfort for this sweet gospel centered family, and may you be compelled to share Gospel Gratitude to someone who has invested in you before that chance is gone. It is good for your soul and theirs.