We all have those people who really stand out to us in life. Perhaps it is a sports figure or someone in Hollywood. They may have great integrity and may even market themselves as a role model for younger generations. When we choose to admire these people, we understand that they are human, and they have faults…but there is a part of us that desperately hopes that they are the same in private as they are portrayed in public. It would devastate us to learn of their recent DUI charge or adultery….because in the most recent episode of their show…they showed such great character.
This week, I, along with hundreds of other people, paid tribute to a man who was looked at with such admiration. It was my grandfather, Byron “Barney” Wright. Papaw passed away on Sunday and left a void in all of our lives… The people who wept at his funeral only did so because they were not going to be able to talk to him anymore (for now) or hear him sing or dare to stand in the same room with him as he prayed (I don’t like to watch anyone get beat up, but the devil seemed to come out very bloody in these cases). His life touched so many that we, as a family, were overwhelmed by the amount of people that came to support us…people of every walk of life, skin color, and age group came to celebrate the life of a man who knew Jesus so well, that joy was always present. These same people lingered for a long time at the celebration to tell stories we had never heard about how they were introduced to Jesus Christ through my papaw.
As I reflected on this tribute, I believe God whispered a convicting and powerful concept into my ear. It is simply this…Our life is only a small part of our life. What do I mean by that? Well, as was the case for my grandpa, it is obvious that a life truly sold out to God is one that naturally pours into others. So, in this case, our life is only the vessel by which other lives can be changed. What an incredible mission to dedicate ourselves to!
There are so many incredible stories that one could tell about his life that, to write them down in blog form, they may break the internet. I can tell you this…he was the same in private as he was in public.
I could write more but I feel that papaw would want me to tell you the most important thing about his life. He would tell you that, 63 years ago, he was the most vulgar sinner…undeserving of any abundance God had for him. Yet, for some reason, God wanted him to help clog the gates of heaven. 63 years ago he asked to God to cleanse him of his sins…
That man could pray. And if you knew him…you were on his morning prayer list…I think one of the reasons he died was because he fell so in love with God that he couldn’t wait any longer… like a bride and groom anxious for their wedding day.
Papaw…even though you are currently busy celebrating and probably won’t read this….Well done good and faithful servant…well done.
(1 Corinthians 11:1)