Long Obedience

Jimmy Dodd |

Dear Friends,
If you have a little margin in your schedule and want to take a fun trip down memory lane, go to YouTube, Spotify, or any music service and search for one-hit wonders. A one-hit wonder is a musical artist who was successful with one hit song but without a comparable subsequent hit. The list contains some of the great songs of all time!

On that list you will find such classics as 96 Tears by ? and The Mysterians, Spirit In The
by Norman Greenbaum and Sugar, Sugar by the Archies. You can hear Wipeout,
Monster Mash
and Tequila. The list contains classics like Hooked on a Feeling by Blue
Swede, Play That Funky Music
by Wild Cherry and Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight
There are literally hundreds of one-hit wonders.

In many ways, we live in a one-hit-wonder culture. We celebrate anyone or anything that
makes a sudden impact – regardless of its longevity. We applaud the big leap while downplaying the consistency of small steady steps. We praise the gigantic splash while undervaluing seemingly unimportant but reliable contributions. While people are naturally drawn to those who find themselves in the spotlight (however brief), I am grateful for those who have lived a life of steady faithfulness. This week I spoke with Carey Casey, a 67-year-old pastor serving a church in the Lawndale community outside of Chicago who has served the Lord faithfully for six decades. I was reminded that I was speaking with
a saint who has faithfully walked with Jesus longer than most pastors have been alive. I
think of Frank Brown, a close friend who is a champion of generosity and faithfulness. Frank
is 89 and continues to passionately follow the Lord Jesus. Ask a 5-year-old what they want to be when they grow up and they might say, “a doctor or a professional athlete.” Ask a 50-year-old believer in Kansas City what they want to be when they grow up – and many will say, “Frank Brown!” I could list dozens of men and women who have not led a church over 250, have not written a book, and have not been the featured speaker at a pastors’ conference. And yet, these are the faithful followers of Jesus who we should stand and applaud. They were anything but a one-hit-wonder.

More than forty years ago, Eugene Peterson wrote the discipleship classic, A Long
Obedience in the Same Direction
. While the book is incredible, the title of the book is
world-class. Peterson knew that our society is obsessed with quick fixes. But Peterson’s
time-tested prescription for discipleship remains the same—a long obedience in the same
direction. I would encourage you to read Peterson’s work which centers itself in Psalm 120
-134 – The Songs of Ascent. With prophetic and pastoral wisdom, he shows

…because every pastor needs a pastor.

how the psalms teach us to grow in worship, service, joy, work, humility, community,
and blessing.

At PastorServe, we rejoice that the majority of the pastors we serve are faithfully showing
up day after day and serving their people as they serve the Lord Jesus. They are living out a
long obedience in the same direction. They are not concerned with notoriety and
observable applause from the masses. Rather, they live to hear the words of their heavenly
Father, “well done good and faithful servant.”

Thank you for your partnership with PastorServe which allows us to care for pastors. We are
working to help pastors and ministry leaders live long obedience in the same direction.
We are serving in a manner that we pray encourages us to maintain a faithful steady walk
with Jesus. We could not do the work of this ministry apart from friends like you.

Walking with Jesus, 

Jimmy Dodd

Strengthen Your Church

Strengthening your church, for us, begins by serving you, the pastor!