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Monday, February 1, 2010

Pastor Jesse & Wilma Dourte 1/29/10
Wilma and Jesse Dourte

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"Given A Trust, Proven Faithful"

"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2).

In the last six months we've developed a warm friendship with an older couple, Jesse and Wilma Dourte.  They are presently retired from the pastoral ministry, but in their pre-retirement they served churches for many years in our region of Pennsylvania and in the Midwest (central Kansas).  Jesse and Wilma met in a Christian college, raised six children, and will soon celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary.  We had them over for dinner Friday night and enjoyed hearing their mature perspective on life in general and serving the church in particular.

One thing that really stands out about this godly couple is their continued burden for lost souls and their personal interest in others. Jesse was raised in a God-fearing home and became a Christian as a little boy. After marrying he and his wife were full-time farmers and much of that time he also served as pastor in a bi-vocational role.
Dourte Family w/ young children
Wilma shared how difficult it was to milk the cows and get the farm chores done before going to church each Sunday. In fact she stated that they could not have done it without the help of their children. With a grateful smile she offered, "Our children never really complained.  They just knew what had to be done and they did it."

Wilma endures a hearing impediment, but with the assistance of a hearing aid she seeks to overcome. I've known people who completely withdraw from others after their hearing is impaired due to their inability to hear well which greatly affects their communication skills. Yet Wilma joyfully interacts with people realizing that, in those instances where she might not fully hear or understand clearly, that the awkward moments will pass. Her genuine love and interest in the person speaks even louder than words can convey. Both Jesse and Wilma demonstrate the sweet grace of faithfulness and regularly dispense godly wisdom and understanding that Solomon often wrote about.

A church sign posted this thought-provoking statement: "Better to be faithful than famous."  Although there are famous people who are also faithful, it occurred to me how often those whom so many recognize as "famous" are certainly not faithful.  Merely consider famous names in sports, entertainment, and politics. Sadly this is also true for some in ministry for Christ. That's why we are especially blessed by longstanding faithfulness of believers like Jesse and Wilma Dourte. Our children, young people, young adults, really all ages need to be regularly impacted by people like this. That's why I strongly believe in the intergenerational church.

It's not uncommon for many churches to entirely segregate their congregation by age groups, and when doing so, there can be an important spiritual dynamic missing.  The blending of generations brings about a needed balance in our worship services, and a mutual respect for each generation. Older believers are strengthened and encouraged as they visibly see how God is calling and shaping a young life committed to Christ.  And the young ones can visibly witness how God beautifully refines those, who though thoroughly tested through the years by the enemy's arson, remain faithful and victorious in their spiritual journey.

As followers of Christ we've all been given a trust. The apostle Paul wrote, "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2).  We are stewards of God's truth and it is required that we be faithful.  This is fundamentally expressed spiritually but in reality spiritual faithfulness is expressed in practical ways as well.  Let us ask ourselves:  Are we faithful to our spouse and family?  Are we faithful to our church and our ministry responsibilities?  What about our work related duties and financial commitments?

May the Lord help us all to keep the commitments we make.  In fact the greatest approbation we will ever receive is when we hear the words from our Lord, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).  Indeed, it's far more desirable to be faithful than to be famous.   We've been given a trust, let us prove ourselves faithful!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Daily prayer: Father, You've given us so many venues in which we have opportunity to prove ourselves faithful.  In our relationships, our work, our ministries and the marketplace we want to be faithful in the responsibilities entrusted to us.  When tempted to compromise due to seemingly insurmountable pressures we face, help us to remember that faithfulness to You is the greatest reward.  To hear You say, "Well done, good and faithful servant" are the most joyous words of affirmation we will ever receive!  Keep us faithful, Lord Jesus, for it is in Your name that we pray.  Amen.

Dourte family
Here is a current photo of the Dourte family.
They also have many grandchildren and great-grandchildren!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Find Us Faithful"  Video  Steve Green  We suggested this song with a message last week but it also goes so well with today's message! Pastor and Wilma have "lined the way" for many.  I encourage you to prayerfully listen to this song; as a reminder of those who have gone before us faithfully serving Christ, and as a song of personal aspiration that those behind us might indeed find us faithful! This version has the lyrics.

Recommended Book:
Find Us Faithful: Leadership That Leaves a LegacyFind Us Faithful: Leadership That Leaves a Legacy
By David Olford / B & H Publishing Group

Illuminating Paul's farewell address to the church elders of Ephesus found in Acts 20, Olford describes three gifts those in Christian ministry should leave behind: a personal example, a preached word, and a prepared leadership. He clarifies the responsibilities we must fulfill; reveals encouragements to be embraced; and reflects on the urgency of faithfulness. More info

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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