The weather was horrible as they approached. Commercial aircraft was not landing. Windy, rainy, stormy. Even the best pilot would find this approach nearly impossible.
Yet he tried. He took a chance. He knew that if he failed, as the pilot, he would be most at risk. I am certain that the passengers were well informed of the rough landing to follow. Prayer would have been on everyone's lips. In avaiation the adage is, taking off is easy, landing the plane is the real problem. The plane will fly itself.. landing is not normal for a flying machine and it has to be coached into being back on the ground. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it's not far from the truth. A jet wants to be flying at hundreds of knots 8 miles high. That's what it was designed for.
In an instant, in a storm, on a risk, lives and most likely a ministry was extinguished. A man of great influence stepped from time into eternity. He's not unhappy about this, but those of us left behind mourn.
I had never met Myles Monroe. We always attended Bahama Faith Ministries Church whenever we were in Freeport. The people were kind and accepting of this "brother from a different mother". As is normal we were unique.. and that was too bad. Globally Myles Monroe had a multicultural reach, but locally it was not so.
It's a satellite church in Freeport, in other words, the service and preaching from Nassau was shown on a screen. Dr Monroe would preach and we at a distance would watch. The ministry was live, the worship was live but the word was remote. I know this is a common pattern today.. but there is a risk. More on that later.
In the crash Monroe's successor, Dr Richard Pinder was killed too. There is no longer a designated second in command. Moses and Joshua are both gone at once.
His Books, video recordings and other transcribed material will live on. That is the Legacy of Myles Monroe. Those who were greatly influenced by him, those who were discipled and sent out by him will continue to carry his baton. The church in Freeport and Nassau will operate for a while but without the set man.. will likely founder. God always uses a set man or woman. He doesn't use boards, committees, organizations. No one will take Myles Monroe's place. Not exactly.
Yes, someone can use the existing facilities, keep many of the members, maybe keep the name and honor Myles Monroe's legacy, but it will have to be a new set man to carry it forward. This is always the challenge when these things happen. It is often said that there is no success without a successor. Yet, in the end God picks the successor.
I have lost some great men of God as friends and pastors over the years. Two come to mind. Robert Schmidgall and Dan Rothwell. Both were set men by God. When they died it took years for another to take their place. The churches foundered. In the last year another great man of God passed. I didn't know him well, but had ministered to him before his death. Set man is the issue. God sets them, not man.
For the most part God doesn't much care that you are the Pastor's son or daughter, or son in law or brother in law or such. He does the picking. It takes a prophet to declare the succession. I suspect that a prophet had warned Dr Monroe of this potential. He just didn't point out that who will pick up the mantle. It will many times not be the man or woman you would pick by reason. Jesse will have to bring out ALL his sons for the prophet to anoint the right one. That means that ruddy faced kid in back 40 sometimes is the set man of God.
Succession based on family seldom works. I can think of only a few occasions where it did. It usually only works when the successor goes off to a distant work and then after years establishing his own track record and credibility come back to the fellowship. That almost never happens.
IF there is to be a person to take over and successfully perpetuate the ministry in Bahamas it will be one who is not there, who comes back and who's hands are clean before the people. No one there now will succeed as successor.
There are prophetic implications in all this. Here are Seven:
1. The landing was of urgency. Dr Monroe was having dinner that night with Andrew Young Jr, Former UN Ambassador. He really wanted to get there. In aviation we call this homeitis and it's a killer. The desire to reach your destination so much that you take deadly risks to get there. Even in an automobile people suffer from this by driving in a snowstorm to get someplace when they have no right to be on the road. Father would say, "Before you build a tower or go to war, consider the cost". If he had missed Dinner that night, there would have been another. There won't now.
2. No man knows the day nor hour. Even though the risk was significant and understood, the pilot had done worse than this with success, his desire to please Dr Monroe outran his judgement. Father would say, "Prudence and man pleasing are not compatible".
3. Legacy Matters. The amount of honor given Dr Monroe is appropriate and correct. He was a great man of God. I know he was controversial to many. I sat under his teaching and cringed sometimes at what I heard. Yet he did great things. He advanced the kingdom. His legacy and God given wisdom is eternal. In that way he fulfilled his purpose. He ended well if too short. Now it's time for people to mourn and remember and then take what this means to continue to advance the kingdom using the wind at their sails that Dr Monroe provided. Then to move on and move out.
4. There is no significance to the date or the fact that he died in an accident. God didn't take him and the devil didn't kill him. We must understand to quote a famous bumper sticker, "Things Happen". I know I misquoted it, but you saw it on the back of a rusty old Ford F-100 in Forrest Gump. The quickness, the permanence and the results of all that are yet to be determined. Those things are still on this side of the veil. Father would say, "Do not ask who sinned, but keep your hearts pure and repent lest a worse thing happen to you". Tower of Siloam reference Luke 13:4
5. The tragedy of his death and those of the many who died with him is only exceptional in it's obvious publicity. The multitudes who sit beneath the throne now martyred in the middle east who were pressured to recant.. and lost their heads from not recanting.. they are to be mourned as well. The death of all saints is precious.. all of them. None is greater or lesser at the foot of the cross. If you read the book "Final Quest" there is an encounter on the other side of the veil with the Apostle Paul. Father says, "In the light of MY Glory all of man's success and honor is put in perspective. I will judge that which endures and that which is wood, hay and stubble and that which is silver and gold". If Dr Monroe were able to speak of this today, he would be the first to say, "much of what I did was burned up.. only some endured". ALL Glory be to God.
6. He wouldn't come back now even if he could. He is experiencing that which is only anticipated today by you and me. It's beyond our understanding, yet there have been glimpses. Don't mourn for his present state, mourn for OUR present state. Minus his greatness. He cannot come to us, we can only go to him. Yet when it seems like he is right here, he is. The distance between you and him is small and the veil is thin. He is not aware of you, but you can be aware of him. His spirit in that way lives on. I think of Dan Rothwell every day.. and know his spirit is still with me.. yet he is not. That is legacy.
7. Be ready, you don't know if your next breath is certain. You may never get a second's warning. I was in a near fatal plane crash. There was no warning. We all survived, yet had we died.. it was without warning.. The twinkling of an eye and we would have been caught up to meet him in the cloud, as was Myles Monroe and his wife and all the others on Sunday afternoon.
So keep all this in proportion. Consider what legacy you will leave when you step from time into eternity. What hope or instruction you will offer.
It all matters. Father says, "we have many teachers, but not many fathers". Myles Monroe was a father to many in the spirit. That persists after he died. Fatherhood matters. It forms who you are.
Paul the Apostle speaking to the Corinthians said:
1 Corinthians 4:14-17 I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Let us believe that the Timothy's of Myles Monroe, the thousands of them sent into the world will advance the kingdom. Of that Father says to Myles, "well done good and faithful servant, My son in whom I am well pleased".