Fit For Marriage


A Lesson in Greatness

C. Russell Yates, Director

I'd like to tell about a great pastor. He is an unknown—could be any Tom, Dick or Harry so I'll call him Tom the Preacher. Tom's greatness is exceeded only by that of his wife, Mrs. Tom. The Toms are a role model worthy of emulation.

If you're like me, you want to hear everything God has to say. For years I idolized preachers who spoke eloquently and drew sizable crowds. But looking back I noticed a strange dichotomy: Often the preacher's life contradicted his message. Philippians 1:15 notes that some preach the gospel from less-than-pure motives so I just accepted the man's personal failure.

Surely it was my deficiency that drew me to men who lacked humility. After decades of such spiritual self-indulgence, I was suddenly awakened to the simple but profound preaching of a man who had been my pastor from 1966-1976. Few people have even heard of Preacher Tom, but in the spirit realm he is known by both angels and demons.

What can be said for a man who is brilliant, highly educated, and articulate, but chooses an obscure pathway of service rather than the limelight of human achievement? He has somehow stumbled onto the pathway of humility that is the epitome of true greatness.

For over thirty years Tom was pastor of an inner-city church. For ten of those years I was part of his flock. My preacher was warm and accessible—he had time for the most humble saint or the vilest sinner. He spoke some great sermons and they never lasted more than twenty minutes.

As his helpmate, Mrs. Tom is even more obscure (and perhaps greater) than her husband. She is not only his wife and the mother of his children—she washes the guy's shorts.

On January 2, 2003, Pastor and Mrs. Tom celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Besides their children and grandchildren, the Toms are parents to countless spiritual offspring. This is the greatest pastor I have ever known—he just followed the example of Jesus—as we all should.

But I am among you
as he that serves.Luke 22:27

I pay tribute to my beloved pastor by directing you to one of his sermons, My Yoke is Easy. For a copy, please click here. After reading the sample message you may want to be put on a bi-weekly emailing list. Send your request to No one will ever use that e-list to solicit or promote.

I'm writing this to glorify God. People like me need role models. And what is the goal of every believer? To please the Lord! No doubt our greatest role model is Jesus, himself. But Scripture gives us many examples:

And lo a voice from heaven, saying,
This is my beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3:17
Enoch was translated
that he should not see death.
He had this testimony,
that he pleased God.Hebrews 11:5
Noah was a just man
and perfect in his generations,
and Noah walked with God.Genesis 6:9b
There was a man whose name was Job;
and that man was perfect and upright,
and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.Job 1:1
Abraham believed God,
and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:
and he was called the Friend of God.James 2:23
Now the man Moses was very meek,
above all the men
which were upon the face of the earth.Numbers 12:3

But if you're like me, you look for role models among your Christian brothers. My pastor and his wife are most dear to me because of our association. There's no way I can offer you that. But you can read copies of his sermons. I pray they will bless you as they have me.

The men above served the Lord faithfully. Each of them earned a crown. But what do they do with the diadem?

The four and twenty elders
fall down before him that sat on the throne,
and worship him that liveth for ever and ever,
and cast their crowns before the throne,
saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord,
to receive glory and honour and power:

for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure
they are and were created.Revelation 4:10-11

And what is their reward?

Blessed are the pure in heart:
for they shall see God.Matthew 5:8
Well done, thou good and faithful servant:
thou hast been faithful over a few things,
I will make thee ruler over many things:
enter thou into the joy of thy lord.Matthew 25:21

May we all follow the worthy example set by Enoch, Noah, Job, Abraham, Moses, Pastor Tom, and countless other faithful saints.

Emphases in the above passages do not appear in the original text.

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