On Thursday I went to a funeral. I hadn’t known the man for long, a little over five months, but he has left an incredible impression in the time that I was blessed to know him. This man had been very sick the entire time I knew him and for a good while before that as well. I never saw him off of an oxygen tank. I don’t remember the last time that I saw him moving around without a wheel chair. But you know what, none of those things will be what I remember about him.
I will remember how he was there at services more times than not, even though two oxygen tanks were needed to make it through.
I will remember how he and his wife hosted both a get-together and a Bible study over the summer. When the offer was made to have the Bible study hosted somewhere else, the answer was, “If the study is at our house, he can actually attend.”
I will remember how he lead multiple prayers in worship service from his seat in the weeks leading up to his death, even though he needed oxygen to breathe and a lapel microphone to be heard. He was determined to continue to serve in any way he could.
I will remember how he made it to every service of the week-long gospel meeting we had last month.
I will remember the beginning of the prayer he led on Sunday night of that meeting, when he said it was “an honor and a privilege” to be able to come before the Lord in worship that night. Knowing the difficult week that lay before him and the struggle he faced to leave the house each time he did, and knowing how few of those opportunities he would have left… Those words hit me hard when I heard them, and those words will stick with me, hopefully for the rest of my life.
I will remember the strength, courage, virtue, and kindness I saw in every interaction with him. The love that so greatly characterized his family. The love of the Lord that guided him.
In my life, I have had the blessing to know many great Christian examples. I have also had the mingled sorrow and joy to watch many of these men and women pass from this life and into their reward. Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). I am so grateful that I have so many examples in my life who lived this verse so faithfully. And my goal and desire is that I am each day living faithful to this verse as well. May God help us all in this quest.
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.