Links Daily Devotional

Pastors, Pros, and Prayer

And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. (Matthew 21:22, NASB)

My pastor needs your prayers. In April of 2013, Gary DeSalvo was diagnosed with melanoma in his right eye. That was on a Thursday, and the following week we were scheduled to go to the Masters. Gary missed that Masters trip and instead began his fight against this deadly form of cancer. What followed were several trips for treatment at MD Anderson Cancer center in Houston, prompting Gary to have his eye removed. The surgery and infusions proved to be successful, and Gary was cancer-free through this May. We were able to make that Masters trip this year, and Gary was able to see through his one good eye the beauty of Augusta National.

Before continuing, let me tell you a little bit about Gary. He was raised in Baton Rouge, graduated from LSU, received his ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary, and came to Temple Bible Church in August of 1981. Like most men I know, Gary overmarried when he united with Bev. Gary has the gift of being an excellent teacher, but he also is very relational to the men, women and children at TBC.

Friendship is hard. When we get close enough to people to love them, we share their pain.I have always thought that Gary’s position as a head pastor was similar to my long-time role as a head golf professional. Pastors and golf professionals are in the people business and they wear many hats. Gary oversees his staff, elders, deacons, worship, special events, facilities, and missions outreach; he also conducts weddings and funerals, visits his TBC friends in the hospital, and counsels as many people as his time allows. Head golf professionals oversee their staff, tournaments, outings, teaching, practice facilities, golf carts, and merchandise; they also take members to an occasional pro-am or on golf trips, and they counsel as many people as their time allows.

Here’s another thing we have in common: Pastors and golf professionals both need to develop thick skin. In a church or a club with 98 percent wonderful people, the unhappy two percent can create some real headaches.

The difference between me and Gary is that he is a wonderful preacher and a terrible golfer. He has become a disc golfer after giving up on “real golf.” I am a decent golfer, but would never claim to be a preacher. For starters, I would not be able to spend the time it takes to prepare a sermon. Gary, on the other hand, has been doing it for 35 years.

I love reflecting on Gary’s life and the way it parallels mine. But friendship is hard. When we get close enough to people to love them, we share their pain. And Gary is facing pain again.

A recent CAT scan turned up a dark spot on Gary’s liver. An MRI last week confirmed that the spot is a metastasis. The cancer is back. While the spot is small and it was caught early, Gary knows that his rare type of melanoma can be very serious. He and his doctors are in the process of determining what the next move will be. Would you please join me and our church in praying for Gary and his family? He has served God well, and if asked he would say he is prepared to go home, but we would like to keep him in Temple, Texas, for many more years.

Bill Euler
June 20, 2017
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