I have a pastor friend in Nairobi, Kenya, who writes to me about his own ministry and country regularly. He wrote me today telling about a pastor friend, Samuel, who was my friend’s classmate at Baptist Seminary. Samuel was shot and killed on Sunday night by thugs as he made his way home from visiting a church member. I suppose I do not think of this danger much. I know of one or two such shootings in our urban centers, where ministers have been shot in the routine line of doing their work. But this is common in many places. It doesn’t appear this was related directly to the fact that Samuel was a minister but the fact was that he was doing ministry when he died. It reminds me of the distinction, if there is any at all, Chuck Colson once made to me about these things. I told him that my late father died of hepatitis B contracted, most likely, while working on prisoners in the Memphis Federal Penitentiary. My dad was a retired dentist and did this volunteer work to serve people and to witness to prisoners. Chuck said to me, and I will never forget it, “Your dad died as a martyr of sorts since he died because he was doing the Lord’s work.”

Pray for the family of Pastor Samuel at this time of grief. Pray that God will give James, my friend, a ministry of consolation at this time. James says, “Samuel was my best pastor friend and his death has affected me and my wife so deeply.” James and his wife just recently lost her mother as well.