Last week a dear friend of mine went home to be with the Lord. On Wednesday, February 11, 2015, Pastor Ronald B. Cannon died of cancer. In honor of him, I have decided to reprint some devotionals I wrote about him and his impact upon my life and ministry. I pray that you will be blessed and inspired by reading them.
In 1992, the Lord took our family to Lima, OH, where I served as an associate pastor for eleven years. It was an experience that helped shape my life and ministry. During that time period I worked alongside of several godly men who were also associate pastors, as well as under a senior pastor who had been in the ministry for nearly fifty years. As many of you know, his name was Ronald Cannon.
Pastor Cannon came to Lima as a young man in 1961. There were 78 people in attendance at his first service, with three decisions for Christ. Over the next decade the church exploded in growth. I have been told that at its peak the worship attendance was over 1,500.
When we went to Lima, the Sunday School averaged nearly 1,200 each Sunday. To be honest, that was rather intimidating considering the fact that I grew up in a church that averaged less than 100 on Sundays and this was my first experience as a pastor. Yet Pastor Cannon took me under his wing and helped me grow.
Of all the lessons I learned from Pastor Cannon, perhaps the greatest lessons the importance of self-control. The Bible says – “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)
During my time under Pastor Cannon’s ministry, I sometimes heard others criticize him for not acting as quickly and thoroughly as some thought he should. Once I heard him admit that this was one of his weaknesses. But I don’t consider it to be a weakness. I believe it was a sign of spiritual maturity. We read in Galatians 5, that longsuffering and self-control are evidences that the Spirit is working in our lives. James says- “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2)
Because of his example, I am have come to value very much the virtue of self-control. It is my desire that others will someday see in me the same thing I saw in him and that I will have as great an impact upon their lives as he had upon mine.