The New York Times called Tim Keller, who died on Friday at 72, “one of the most important theologians and greatest preachers of our time”.
For most of his career, he was the Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.
One of our favorite stories about Tim and his wife Kathy is in our book, “40 Day Prayer Challenge”. Here’s an abridged version.
“For weeks after two planes collided with the World Trade Center on 9/11, Tim and Kathy—like most of us—lived in a bubble of depression. But for New Yorkers, it was very close to home. The twisted rubble and the endless search for loved ones was but a cab ride away.
Kathy’s struggle was intensified by her affliction with Crohn’s disease, which on its own, is related to depression.
Kathy’s cry to Tim carried childlike sincerity. ‘Tim, I don’t think I can make it. I need to have you pray with me every night.’
He looked at her intently, lovingly, yet in his mind he repeated her words…every night? A pastor’s busy life—like yours—is filled with people to see, things to do, problems to solve.
Kathy then supported her proposition with Godly insight. ‘Imagine you were diagnosed with a lethal condition and the doctor told you that you would die unless you TOOK a PARTICULAR PILL every night.’
Tim was beginning to see where she was going.
‘Would you FORGET? Would you not get around to it some nights? NO—it would be so crucial, you’d never miss a dose.’
Kathy’s unpretentious logic was so clear, he was left to wonder, How could this have escaped me, a professional man of the cloth?
Kathy’s voice grew with fervor: ‘If we don’t PRAY TOGETHER . . . we’re not going to make it, Tim. I’m certainly not. We have to pray together.’
Perhaps that moment for Tim Keller was like this very moment is for you. The penny dropped. He admitted anything that was ‘a nonnegotiable necessity’ was something they could do.
Two decades later … to the end…Tim and Kathy could not recall a single day when they missed praying together—sometimes by telephone, sometimes on the way to an airport.”
Our hearts go out to Kathy and their family. Pastor Tim Keller will be missed by so many.
I believe if he could speak with each of us at this very moment, he’d underscore that committing to pray together daily with his wife was one of the THRESHOLD MOMENTS of his life and with Kathy.
To find out how you can offer her... or him... the same gift, click here.
May abundant Godwinks bring you comfort today.