Although my first pastorate was only 11 months long, I met some great people during that time. The senior generation is often accused of being the ones who hinder progress, but that was not necessarily the case. One of my greatest encouragers during that time was in his early 80s. His name was Baker Wilson.
Baker had been in that church for many years. He had served as a deacon and a well-respected leader. He had a low tolerance for unbiblical practices in the church and had no problem speaking against them. The only ones who had an issue with him were typically the ones who were causing problems.
I remember well the first day he spoke encouragement into my life. It was Easter Sunday 2013. I received a call that he was in the emergency room. As any pastor does, I went with the intent to encourage him and his precious wife. As he was laying there awaiting test results and all the other things he would go through, he shared his word of encouragement with me. He confirmed that he was satisfied with my leadership and affirmed that many others were happy with the way I was handling things. That began a wonderful relationship with this precious family that still lasts today thanks to social media.
Today, he left this world to meet his Savior. When I met him, he was feeble and walked with a cane but did not allow that to hinder him from church attendance. Every time I asked him how he was doing, he would say “I’m still vertical.” He is even more vertical now.
To his wife, children, grandchildren, and all other family and friends, Baker Wilson left behind a great legacy. If he did nothing more than encourage this young pastor, it was well worth it. However, I know he did a lot more. Only Heaven will reveal it all, but many who were touched by his life can attest. May God grant comfort to all who mourn today.