Fellow clerics and church leaders should take the enigmatic death of South African pastor Reverend Bassie Jackals, who tragically died after he collapsed while delivering a sermon before his congregants at his church on Sunday as a caution light that they need to take a rest from the pulpit, pastor and author Walter Mwambazi has reflected.
Rev Jackals died while preaching at African Methodist Episcopal Church in Kuruman, Northern Cape, on Jan. 19, according to video footage circulated on social media. The disturbing video shows the pastors sitting down in the middle of his sermon. Members of the church applaud him, thinking it’s all part of the sermon. Sadly, Jackals then falls to the ground.
Local media reported that he was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The pastor’s autopsy showed he died as a result of high blood pressure and that he was also diabetic.
Just 42 at the time of his death, Jackals is survived by his wife, Puleng Christina Jackals, and four daughters.
Reflecting on his life and impact on social media upon hearing of his passing away in a piece entitled “Servants of God are Human Too – Please Take Time to Rest and be Rejuvenated”, Zambian Pastor Mwambazi said Jackals’ death should be a “wake-up call” to other pastors to rest and delegate tasks to others.
Read the post below:
Today I had the misfortune of watching a video of a servant of God die as he preached on the pulpit. I since learned that his name is Reverend Bassie Obakeng Poloko Jackals. He served as a vibrant and dedicated pastor of various congregations of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was later given an added responsibility to become a Presiding Elder in the church. Passionate about lifting the souls of people through preaching and praise, he led various organisations till his untimely passing.
As I watched in absolute shock, I was overcome by a deep sense of hurt and melancholy because I know what it is to be a serving pastor today. I personally served as one for over 5 years so its close to home.
As I sat there is total shock and it sunk in, I felt a strong urge to write this.
Most do not know this, but a typical pastor has the following going on in their lives and work.
👉🏾 Even though pastoring and ministry is the work of God, your body is still subject to this defiled world, and therefore needs taking care of
👉🏾 A typical pastor works way beyond normal hours. Many have to do two jobs (taking care of their families) and also ministry
👉🏾 Typical ministries have so much involved and it looks like this
– Daily prayer – at church (1 to 2 hours)
– Midweek Service (on top of daily prayer)
– Saturday outreach and other ministry activities (most afternoons
– Two to three services on Sunday (even if pastor not preaching must be usually present
– Also add counselling, planning and conferences every couple of weeks
👉🏾 Will spend years sacrificing their resources for sustaining the work (rentals, rates, utilities, building project, oversight, betrayals, members and even trusted assistants leaving, break aways etc.)
👉🏾 They are constantly criticized, back bitten, gossiped about, openly disputed, insulted, called names, belittled and so much more.
The above translates into so much work that if you also add the work they do to fend for their families, these people don’t rest and are under great stress.
So, the death of this man of God should serve us all as a wake up call – please rest! Take time off, have a break please please please! And find a way to share your responsibility and delegate. Raise lieutenants to help you with His work. It is His work after all, you and I are just vessels.
And where possible, let us set up structures and funds to support these pastors beyond their service time. I pray there is a clear system for welfare after the demise of the man of God for his family.
If you are reading this and have the means in terms of time or money, please be a blessing, help and step in so that we are a pillar to the men and women of God in our midst. They are so under stress most have no idea, only taking swipes at these great servants of God. And please, when you can, celebrate your pastor, take them for a meal, invite them and their families to your home, pay for their much needed breaks outside their cities.
May the servant of God that has passed on rest in His presence.
Not A Strange Incident
Instances of pastors dying in the middle of preaching have made headlines in recent years.
In 2015, a New Orleans pastor collapsed suddenly and died in the middle of preaching a sermon at Greater Saint Mary Baptist Church in the Algiers community after declaring to his congregation:
“If the Lord called me now, I’m ready.”
That same year, a pastor in Texas dropped dead before some 200 people, including his sister, while preaching at the funeral of a church member after warning attendees of the need to be “ready for death.”
Last December, senior pastor at a megachurch in the US, Reverend Howard-John Wesley, surprised his congregation with an announcement that he was stepping away from his ministry for a season because he felt tired in his soul and needed to recuperate mentally and physically after 30 years of preaching over 5,000 sermons.
In an address to his congregation, Rev. Wesley made his admission to his congregation, “I am tired in my soul.”
“There’s a weight a pastor bears in their soul and their emotions that is inescapable,” he said. “There’s not been a day in these past 11 years that I have not woken up and knew that there’s something I had to do for the church, that I have to be available for a call, that I journey with people through the highs and the lows of life, through the great moments of celebration and in the valley of death,” he said.
He said he had been on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but will be on sabbatical from Jan. 1 to April 12, returning on Easter.
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