Meridian Star

March 9, 2013

From the Shepherd’s heart

By Dr. John A. Temple / guest columnist
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do." — John 17:4 (NKJV)

Last fall I had the inspiring experience of witnessing a wonderful follower of Jesus complete his pilgrimage on earth. His name is Ralph Hamil. In his final days, Ralph endured an aggressive form of cancer.

    Throughout his life, Ralph had been known for his positive outlook on life and his emphasis on “honoring the Father.” Ralph was forever pointing to his Heavenly Father and continued to do so even as the illness progressed.

    Whenever I would ask Ralph what he wanted me to pray, he would say, “Just pray that whatever happens in my life that the Father will be glorified.” Ralph never made a personal request that would do anything but magnify the Lord. Ralph knew that many times the best advertisement of faith is in the midst of great struggles in life. Ralph never asked for relief or release. Ralph wanted whatever would magnify his Savior.

    In the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prays, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” Jesus’ entire life was aimed at glorifying the Heavenly Father by the life He lived. He knew that the most difficult challenge of His life was about to occur where He would die a cruel death. Yet, even in the midst of such stress, Jesus continued to aim at whatever pleased the Heavenly Father.

    Most prayers aim at our leisure, pleasure, desire and whim. However, spiritual maturity is revealed in the way we can die to self and live for Christ. When we can move to this level of living, life becomes simple. We focus on magnifying our Lord. Every word, thought, and deed is controlled by our desire to point to God.  The conflict of our desires and our circumstances dissolves in the mindset of surrender when we see ourselves desire to do what God wills.

    I dream of my life concluded with the assurance that I have finished my work and brought glory to God. If that occurs, life will be a success!

    “You will keep him in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3)

     Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www.