It takes a strong person to ignore the things of this world and choose to follow the voice of God instead. When you meet one of these people, it’s apparent their life is devoted to bringing glory to the Father, as their mouth speaks the contents of their heart.
Eugene Peterson was one of those people. His life’s work sought to spread the Word of Jesus to everyone. Being an author, scholar, and pastor, his schedule was full, but he never stopped pursuing the will of God.
On Monday, October 22nd, at the age of 85, this beloved family man and a pastor to the pastors died of heart failure. Peterson had been suffering from dementia as well, making his final days something the family had been preparing for in their hearts.
Christian Headlines reports:
“About one week ago it was announced that Peterson was admitted into hospice care due to his declining health. The Message writer’s son, Eric, made an announcement via email to the family’s friends and loved ones to inform them of the move.”
The e-mail also explained that Peterson had been admitted to the hospital for an infection, which caused him to take “a sudden and dramatic turn” for the worse.
A long-standing member of The Presbyterian Church, Peterson was adored and respected by his peers. He founded Maryland’s Christ Our King Presbyterian Church, where he pastored for almost 30 years. He retired from his pastoral services at the church in 1991 to pursue a teaching career as a professor for Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, until retiring in 2006.
Having authored 30 books, Peterson’s academic accomplishments as a scholar were astounding. According to Relevant Magazine, he is considered “one of the most recognized Bible scholars in America.”
Most notably, the world-renown scholar was applauded for his translation of the Bible, ‘The Message’. This version of the Bible brought the vernacular of the common American to the ancient text, making it contemporary and relatable.
It took an assiduous 9 years to complete the work. But finally, in 2002, something Peterson never thought he’d actually accomplish was ready to hit the shelves. With a Masters in Semitic languages from John Hopkins, The Message was translated directly from the original texts of Greek and Hebrew by Peterson himself. There are now more than 15 million copies in print.
Sojo reports on Peterson’s thoughts regarding his phenomenal work:
“I didn’t feel it was anything special when I was doing it. I can’t believe I did this. Reading it now I think, ‘How did I do this?’ It truly was a work of the Holy Spirit.”
Since his passing, social media has been booming with condolences, memories, and reminders of Peterson’s work here on this earth; reminding readers that he is with the Father in Heaven now.
Jonathan Merritt, an award-winning author who has covered topics from religion to politics, took to Twitter upon hearing of Peterson’s death, writing, “The world is far poorer today than we were yesterday. Eugene Peterson has died.”
The world is far poorer today than we were yesterday. Eugene Peterson has died.
— Jonathan Merritt (@JonathanMerritt) October 22, 2018
Fellow author and friend of Peterson, Winn Collier, also wrote on Facebook, “The lantern is out. My friend and pastor Eugene Peterson died this morning. Eric says his joy, his smile, was full to the final breaths. I have tears. Eugene knows only gladness.”
Thousands continue to mourn the death of Peterson, who left a legacy of Godly accolades and a life of service. It is innumerable the number of spiritual leaders who have benefited and been directed towards God’s will for their lives because of this empowering man.
We should all look to Eugene Peterson’s life and be inspired to achieve more, to search out God’s will for our lives, and to know that we are given the strength to do it through Jesus Christ.
Please let us know in the comments section how you have been inspired by Eugene Peterson.