"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
Good morning and welcome. Today is Wednesday, February 10, 2016. Just last week we were over in Louisiana for the viewing time for our dear Bro. Milton. Talk about walking down memory lane, I saw people that we actually double dated with some 52 plus years ago. One fellow reminded me of the wreck I had trying to make it out to the Church to sit with my girl. He remembered that? I had come around a curve probably a little faster than I should and found the road to be fully occupied with cows. I made the decision to go to the ditch and I hit a tree. He had forgotten the details but he did remember the incident. The Church back in those days went by the name New Hope Baptist and my buddies in the nearby town where we lived, who didn't like the idea of me going out to a foreign community, said I was essentially going to No Hope Baptist. That evening I also visited with folks that I grew up across the street from and because of how God works these people had become devoted friends of our dear Bro. Milton. We say it's a small world but it really is God's world and He is at work weaving the fabric of life including these blessed connections. I actually confessed Christ in that building after hearing a sermon by my girlfriend's dad, on a Saturday night. I used to tell people that when she and I married I had a lot of indebtedness to her family. Her dad was preaching the night I was saved. Her brother Milton married us, his first and our first. Her dad became a faithful mentoring supporter to me. And, Bro. Milton and I enjoyed hundreds of hours of fellowship, discussions about the Bible and other weighty spiritual matters. And, her parents gave me the Proverbs 31 woman that I have been blessed with for these nearly 52 years. We traveled to honor the life and times of our dear Bro. Milton with our presence but in the process of doing so we also rejoiced in the way that God has worked throughout these years. May He be praised. Amen.
Don't get the idea that it has all been a tip toe through the tulips. Believe me, we have had our times of difficulty, challenge, and yes, even heartache. Much of it as a result of our own doing. That too is a part of the race. The human race. The fallen race. The good news is how that God is able to work things out according to His plan, purpose, and His will. I'm not so young anymore and I know that at times I'm prone to be somewhat sentimental in my reflection about the life that God has granted to me. I think about the Rusty Goodman song and the way he expressed the journey with all of its ups and downs concluding with this thought: "Thank you Lord, I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now." I know people who live with a sense of regret over not having lived out or achieved their life dreams. They dwell on how things might have been. I can tell you this. That will not change anything and it typically is about as unhealthy as it can be. Sure. I can think of many ways in which I could have done things differently and better as it relates to serving the Lord and my family. However, we live in the reality of God's provision today. One family member commented after Bro. Milton's homegoing service how they came away with a desire to be a better Christian. I can hear Bro. Milton hollering out, "Amen to that!" There's only one way to do that. It's by embracing and working on it today, you know, the one that God has granted to us. Amen.
I noticed how those that spoke at Bro. Milton's service struggled with describing him and his life without it sounding like they were somehow going overboard in their recognition. One even mentioned that if Bro. Milton could say something he would tell them to hush talking about him and talk more about Jesus instead. I'm glad they struggled because his humble spirit demonstrated throughout his life was something not only to be admired, but sadly, it was something that is often not that prevalent even in the lives of those who are in full time service for the Lord. Think about that. If I heard a theme it was about his unassuming selflessness and his humility. My view is that today we find ourselves often desiring a take no prisoner CEO type to lead in the Lord's work. Bro. Milton's life reminds me of what was said about Moses, where one translation puts it like this: "Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than any man on the face of the earth." (Numbers 12:3) Okay. I'm going out on a limb here but honestly folks I can't think of too many pastors and Church leaders who are known by reputation for their humility. But God thought highly of it as a distinguishing feature in the life of Moses. Our Lord Himself in that great invitation made clear His heart, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:29) That will give me enough to dwell on for a long time to come. What say you? May God bless each one is my prayer. Amen. .....More later.
Many years in this sojourn here on planet earth and I have the scars to prove it but I have been, am now, and will be blessed to have had the privilege of doing what little I've done to honor God and serve others.