Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Eugene Peterson leaves a legacy in death


On October 22nd, 2018, well known Pastor and Author, Eugene Peterson passed away at age 85. The American Christian Minister is best known for his paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, while also authoring dozens of other titles.

About a decade ago I took on a mammoth task inspired by Eugene Peterson. I grabbed hold of that large hardback book called The Message, and I made a pact with myself that I would read it from front to back. Over the next two years I was challenged and inspired by Eugene Peterson's version of the Scriptures.

I came across words like these:

'So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out...' - Romans 12:1-2

And these:


'Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—
    you get a fresh start,
    your slate’s wiped clean.
 Count yourself lucky—
    God holds nothing against you
    and you’re holding nothing back from him.
 When I kept it all inside,
    my bones turned to powder,
    my words became daylong groans.

The pressure never let up;

    all the juices of my life dried up.
 Then I let it all out;
    I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”
Suddenly the pressure was gone—
    my guilt dissolved,
    my sin disappeared.
 These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
    when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts
    we’ll be on high ground, untouched.
 God’s my island hideaway,
    keeps danger far from the shore,
    throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
 Let me give you some good advice;
    I’m looking you in the eye
    and giving it to you straight:
 “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule
    that needs bit and bridle
    to stay on track.”
 God-defiers are always in trouble;
    God-affirmers find themselves loved
    every time they turn around.
 Celebrate God.
    Sing together—everyone!
    All you honest hearts, raise the roof!'
Psalm 32:1-11
He regularly challenged other Pastors and leaders to keep God at the forefront; to not turn churches into businesses. To keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. In his book Working the Angles, he writes, 'The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches. There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world. The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them. In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given a designated responsibility in the community. The pastor's responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God. It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades.' 

I am intrigued as a minister of the gospel, how someone can have such a passion and determination to reinvent Scriptures that have blessed millions of people worldwide. I am inspired by Eugene Peterson's love of the Lord and his desire to finish what he started. To run the race well and to finish strong.

Have a look at Sheridan Voysey's blog Remembering Eugene Peterson for a great insight into this man of God.

My prayer is that I would continue strong in the Lord and I would finish strong like this man. Always loving the Scriptures. Always loving God's people. Always working hard to fulfil the plan of God for one's life and doing what you can to make a difference in the world.

I share with other followers of Jesus and offer prayers of blessing over his family and friends, and the legacy in which he leaves for the sake of the Kingdom of God on earth.

I am interested to hear from you. Has Eugene Peterson made an impact on your life?

This quote from Eugene Peterson is probably the best way to finish this short article: 

'That's the whole spiritual life. It's learning how to die, you start losing all your illusions, and you start being capable now of true intimacy and love...'




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