I have been a bit caught off guard with how sad I still am that my dear friend and pastoral mentor, Jackson Boyett is gone. Even though it has been a year since the car crash that took the life of Jackson and his wife, the grief remains fresh. I miss learning from him. I miss our conversations. I miss his joyful face-to-face welcome. I miss how I could ask him the most off-the-wall question about a pastoral issue, and with very little hesitation, oozes with wisdom in his response. Recently, the Lord in his kindness, allowed me to discover an email I did not realize I still had, that was from Jackson about a month before he died.

This email was common to what our conversations and exchanges were often like. I would fire questions to him, and he would graciously answer, give wisdom and insight I did not have, and would always find a way to shamelessly encourage me. This email came as I was preparing to write The Pastor’s Family Book with my wife (just turned in to Zondervan) and was asking about different historical examples that would be both good and bad examples of men who were faithful. Here was Jackson’s response:

Hi, Brother,

I was out-of-town last week, so I’m sorry to not get back to you sooner. I don’t know a great deal about this subject, but I would certainly investigate Edwards, Spurgeon, and Lloyd-Jones in the faithful camp. John Wesley, I understand, was married to a real shrew who was mostly glad when he was away, as was he!

Among missionaries, check out Carey and Livingstone for neglect. Their stories are realistically told by Ruth Tucker in her essential book, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya. Among theologians, you should investigate B.B. Warfield, who had an invalid wife. Since he lived on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, he would lecture and write, but go home for lunch every day to attend to her needs…one of my favorite examples of faithfulness is Croft.

For those who will read The Pastor’s Family upon its release next August, you will find most of these examples were used. For this reason, as well as many others, the book is dedicated to Jackson and Barbara. Every pastor needs someone they can go to when they need counsel, when they are struggling, and when ministry gets discouraging and they need someone to remind them of God’s call upon their life. I have been humbled by the opportunity to play this role with several of you who write and will continue to do what I can, but you need more than someone you can contact through a blog. You need another older pastor to teach you and regularly pour their life into you. If you do not have that, begin now to pray the Lord would send that faithful man into your life. Remember, you will not desire it, nor pray for it, if you do not think you need it.