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Pastor Zachery Tims: A Great Fighter Mortally Wounded on the Battlefield

Jesus said, "Behold, I have sent you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, be wise as serpent, and be gentle as doves" (St. Matthew 10:16).

As preachers, Jesus knew we are going to face painful challenges along the battlefields of life. Sometimes the battle gets very intense with bullets coming at you from every angle. We have to admit that the enemy has placed landmines along the pathway of our journey in the ministry. There are going to be explosions along the pathway to glory. Many will be able to avoid the bombs planted by the enemy, and dodge the bullets in some cases. Unfortunately some will be blown up as they run into the landmines, or take the bullets with their chests. The ones that survive are no better than the ones that lost their lives on the battlefield. Those who survive only learn well how to dodge the bullets of the enemy. According to African saying, "A big masquerade has fallen." Another person must pick up his sword and his shield.

Jesus warned Peter saying, "The devil has asked for you. He wanted to sift you as wheat. But, I have prayed for you so that your faith may not fail. When thou art converted, strengthen your brethren" (St. Luke 22:31-34). The devil knows how to go after a leader just to make mockery of the ministry of Christ. That was why Jesus asked us to watch and pray because the evil (devil) one is in ambush.

For the first few days, I read about the death of Pastor Zachary Tims, I was very disturbed and upset. I lost some sleep over the incident. I have seen him on the television preaching many times with great eloquence. In a discussion with my wife, I was asking how this could have been prevented. When a soldier dies on the battlefield, we do not blame him. We pay him tributes. This situation is no different. He was a warrior who died in the battlefront of life.

I have always supported reconciliation between a husband and wife in a relationship crisis situation regardless to the problem. I have had to preside over some of those crises. Although, I am not blaming anybody, but anger sometimes prevents reconciliation between a feuding married couple. God is the one who said it is not good for a man to be alone. God’s message is even more critical for a minister of the Word. A preacher without a wife who used to be married is an open target for the enemy. How can a man see the back of his neck, except with the help of his loving wife?

Message to Preachers Wives

Thanks for staying! Please, we need you! I want you to know that wives play a very important role in the life of the ministry more than husband does. You can either pull down his ministry, or you can be his greatest encourager even if he messed up. No matter what he might have done, be patient and be forgiving for God’s sake. When you get angry and walk away from him regardless to what he had done wrong, you leave him vulnerable to the wolves. You might as well throw him to the dogs because he lost his earthly defense from his wife. Remember what happens when you leave. You also leave the door open because you are angry. Then the enemy comes through the same open door to feed like a wicked monster – he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. When you look back, you would never be happy to see the damage done by the wolf, no matter how angry you were at him. Even if he said he did not want you anymore, you can still be his friend and counselor from time to time. Human emotion is very fragile, even that of a man. When we hurt, we remain silent. Yet, a fire is still burning within.

There was a story of a husband who decided he did not love his wife anymore. He filed for separation, even the wife begged and pleaded with him. So the wife took her two kids to live with her parents. She went and stayed with a boyfriend. A year after staying with her boyfriend, a fight broke out between the two. The boyfriend beat her so badly, her eyes were swollen shut and she was bleeding. When she finally escaped from the boyfriend that was about to kill her, she ran out of the house in the middle of the night. She did not run to her parents who lived closer to her. She ran to her estranged husband’s house. In the middle of the night the husband had a knock on the door. As he opened the door his wife who was legally separated from him just collapsed in his hands bleeding. He rushed her to the hospital. While the wife was receiving treatment at the hospital, the husband got so angry with the wife’s boyfriend seeing what he had done to his estranged wife. He went to the boyfriend’s place and beat him up. He beat the boyfriend so badly; the boyfriend ended in hospital with a broken jaw and facial bone fractures.

When the husband realized what had happened to his estranged wife, he fell so sorry for her. He admitted that it was his fault. He blamed himself for the injury suffered by his wife from the hands of another man. When the husband pushed his wife out of the house, he pushed her into the hands of the man who started to abuse her. The husband repented, apologized to his wife, and asked for forgiveness. He asked her to move back into the house with the kids. The wife was initially hesitant thinking that her husband might change his mind after she left the hospital. Instead, the husband stopped the divorce process to convince his wife to come back home.

I was in the audience when Bishop TD Jakes came to St. Louis this year 2011. I was very impressed when he introduced his wife as his mid-night rendezvous. Lady Serita stood up with a smile, and took a bow wearing a beautiful hat. I was very impressed about the respect he gave his wife because behind every successful man, is a very powerful woman. I believe every pastor’s wife should be nicely jealous of Lady Serita Jakes! Learn a lesson from her. What a wonderful lady, the true wealth behind the bishop! I just admire her so much. I love to give her a kiss as she lifts up her husband’s ministry everyday as a co-pilot. One time she said in the process of a wife pleasing her husband, "I’m from the old school. If your husband wants it, you have to do it. As a wife, if you do not know how, you can learn." I did not hesitate to share that part with my wife with a smile! What she said was very important because, when a husband comes down from a spiritual high, he needs some physical nurturing. In the absence of the wife to play the role of a nurturer for her husband, she can destroy him. She is the only one who has the key to his heart. She is the only one who knows his favorite food. She is the only one who knows his weaknesses, and vulnerable points. She is the only person who has the drum in her hand, knows how to dance to the tune in synchrony with her husband, and also knows the right music to play in his ears. That is why she is the power behind a successful man. There is an African saying that if some kids are playing a music that is offending your ears, you have two options. Either you puncture the drums, or you remove the drums from the kids. Whichever way you choose, the offending music must stop. The opposite happens when you hear a beautiful music being played. You deep your hand inside your pocket in appreciation, dignify yourself by blessing the drummers with money. Similarly, a wife can beautify her husband ministry by playing his favorite music. She can easily disrupt her husband’s ministry by refusing to play the drum of his favorite music. The worst thing she can do is to puncture his drums. That’s when the music stops!

Messages to Other Preachers

You cannot do it alone! You need help! Hold on to your wife. Angels are your first line of defense in the Spirit realm while your wife is your first line of defense in the physical realm. A member of my church gave me a book written by Pastor Charles Stanley, Ministry to Men – Connecting Men in Ministry. One of the things the book recommended from the beginning is for us to find a person to hold us accountable according to Paul’s preaching. Pastor Charles Stanley indicated that accountability positively regulates human behavior. Perhaps some people may find it difficult to be accountable to a person for fear of being controlled. But, we can identify a person who is a closest friend and you are not hesitant to share your problems with the person. Regardless to how mega you church may be, there is nothing too large to fail, and nobody is too big to crash. There should be somebody you can candidly discuss your problems, no matter how intimate without fear of judgmental condemnation. I heard on Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program about a couple of years ago that there were some preachers having illicit relationships with their daughters. We tend to raise eyebrows when we hear such revelation. However, we do not think how we can help people overcome such problems.

About last year 2010, I saw Steve Harvey on The Praise the Lord’s Program on TBN being interviewed by Donnie McClurkin. Steve started to cry saying he was having some problems. He had called TD Jakes, and he said, "The brother is very busy, man." This was shared on the national television. I’m sure Bishop TD Jakes eventually caught up with Steve Harvey to help him out. Some of us are not that lucky! I’m still waiting! There was another follow up show with Bishop TD Jakes and Steve Harvey. The issue remains. When you run into a crisis situation in your life as a pastor, do you have somebody to share your problems with who would not make fun of you, or sell your story to the tabloid magazine? If a person does not have a closer friend, can the association of preachers create a hotline for ministers in crisis, to call for help during crisis times? I have been working with preachers for years; trying to get them to work together is like drilling a hole through a rock.

To The Body of Christ

Be courageous! Jesus is still alive! All preachers are human beings like you. They are no different because they are in a position of leadership, power, or fame. They have their own challenges as we also have our own challenges as well. I love preachers who preach from their own failures, or weaknesses. I remember when Bishop TD Jakes was preaching about his son going inside the room and shutting the door. He went straight at the door, kicked it open and everything just flew everywhere like the door was caught in rapture flying to Heaven. He told us the story while laughing. Bishop TD Jakes is an excellent preacher known around the world. In this story, he was making us understand that he is also a human being as well opened to explosive emotions like anybody else. On that day, that story happened to be the strongest part of his message. He explained that he had gotten better over the years. If Bishop TD Jakes can admit to his emotional challenges of yesteryears, we too should be able to admit to our pitfalls and painful challenges and seek help. There are certain problems preachers may not be able to solve by themselves. Nobody is an island, and no tree can make a forest, except Jesus.

Pastor Zachary Tims was a giant warrior looking at many challenges he had faced in his life. I was unaware he was the spiritual grandson of Bishop TD Jakes until Pastor Paula White gave a statement of losing her spiritual son after the death of Pastor Tims. What a small world? Because a warrior dies on the battlefield does not make him a bad person. It does not make him a bad preacher, or an indictment on the body of Christ. He just happened to have run into some violent storms. His boat over-turned, and he was not wearing a lifejacket. Sadly, the storm blows him away. Anybody could have been blown away by such an intense storm. The good work he left behind will always follow after him. Whatever happened did not diminish the values of what he had achieved and contributed to the ministry of Christ. He is now in a place of perfect rest in the bosom of Christ. I know he is glad, because his life struggle is over. He has already been promoted to a perfect place of peace. Sleep in peace, beloved. Your battle is over, and you have attained victory in Christ.

To His Family and Loved Ones

Give praise to God for a life well lived! Thank God for the job well done! Not too many preachers are gifted with building a mega church. Be proud of his achievements and what he had accomplished for the few years he lived. Like Shakespeare said in Julius Caesar, "The good work that men do always follow after them." Pastor Tims had achieved in a short time what many are unable to attain in a lifetime. You do not need to explain anything to anybody. Sometimes, only God can explain the different twists and turns of our lives. Regardless, be proud of his achievements. Lift up your head and praise God for his precious work in the ministry while serving the Lord and for many lives he had touched with the Word of God. Praise God!

To the Secular World

Watch your mouth! People who do not believe in God may want to say all kinds of things about public figures when bad things happen to them, especially to the preachers. Life is a journey, we will win some battles and we will lose some. Everybody is on the highway of life. When we get to our destination, we take an exit lane. Pastor Zachary Tims got off the highway, took an exit lane. He has already arrived at his destination. One day as our journey continues, we will all arrive at our destination; one by one we take an exit lane. King David in his poem perfectly captures the beauty of the moment when he said, "And in your book they are written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them" (Psalm 139:16).

Lastly, remember the words of Job when he was afflicted,

"Man who is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower, and fades away. He flees like a shadow and does not continue" (Job 14:1-2).

"I know that my redeemer lives. And he shall stand at last on the earth. And after my skin is destroyed, this I know that in my flesh I shall see God whom I shall see for myself, and with my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart years within me!" (Job 19:25-27).

In conclusion, we should always remember the precious words of Our Savior Jesus Christ when he said,

"Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go and prepare a place for you. When I prepare a place for you, I will come and receive you unto myself. Where I am, you may be also" (St. John 14: 1-3).

May his soul rest in peace.

Yinka Vidal, Deacon Black Jack Baptist Church

August 17, 2011

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