For those of you keeping up around these parts, you know that about 6 weeks ago my Father in Law was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor. It was indeed aggressive, and this past Friday the 4th of January we laid him to rest. I want to tell you a bit about him.

We called him a lot of things, depending on who we were. He was Pap to the grandkids, Dad to a son, and Daddy to a daughter. By his wife, he was often called Harold Edward!!! Yes, one has to say it with the exclamation points to actually hear it correctly. I don’t recall actually calling him anything, but “HEY!” was probably close. He had not been able to hear very much for almost 50 years, and when his hearing aids acted up, he could not hear thunder. He could often hear folks with loud, clear voices; but, you had to get his attention and make him look right at you. I have a loud, clear voice, and “HEY!” was how most of our conversations started. For the rest of this, he will just be Pap.

Pap was a simple man. Pap was an exceedingly smart man, but he was just simple in the ways of the world. I never saw him read anything in print, and I don’t think that was really in his comfort zone. Even though he didn’t read, he loved word search puzzles. Strange, really. He knew how to do a ton of stuff, though, that involved real life. Anything outside, he was your man. We will be eating the bounty of his gardening skills for at least another season or two.

Pap loved his family more than anything, especially his little girl (my wife,) and his grandkids. During his final days, while he never once got upset over the fact that he was dying from his own standpoint, the thought of his family having to struggle without him would reduce him to tears.

Pap was never mean to a soul. I have not heard, nor do I think I ever will hear, of a single person who would say this man treated them with less than kindness and respect. Even the jerks.

Pap loved his church. If the doors were open he wanted to be there with his brothers and sisters in Christ. In a day when people decline corporate worship over a chest cold or sprained pinky, Pap hung in there until the end. I remember one Sunday in the hospital he verified the day, then asked why everybody was not in church.  One that visit, he came home Wednesday and was crazy upset that they didn’t let him go home early enough to go to church that night. No problem, because the next night the church came to him and we had Wednesday worship in his living room on Thursday night.

Pap was a solid theologian, as we discovered at the end. He was not a big Bible reader; we already discussed that earlier. But he knew his Jesus, and that Jesus had saved him.  When he was deciding whether to pursue treatment for his tumor and finally decided not to, he just said, “No, I’m just going to go on home.”

Pap was an evangelistic machine. The thing was, we didn’t really know that. We knew he always talked about three things with neighbors: Jesus, his family, and his church. What we didn’t know was how dogged and persistent he was in his efforts to tell people about Jesus. We got so many reports from people about his witness to them….and we didn’t even know this. He was burdened for his lost kinfolk. During one of his rougher nights later in the illness, he just started praying out loud, in the middle of the night. No one had ever heard him pray out loud before. He prayed for us. He thanked God that his wife, children, and grandchildren all knew the Lord. But, he didn’t forget the two uncles who don’t know Jesus, and he prayed for them. It was back about 50 years ago when Pap first guided he and his wife back into the church. They had both been raised in it, and knew the Lord, but had been absentee believers for some years. Even though he probably didn’t give a theological dissertation on why he clearly understood what it meant to the future of his descendants. Now, his closest family members all know the Lord. I probably came to know Him myself because of a decision made 50 years ago.

We are going to miss you, Pap; but; we will see you again someday.

Thank you, for Giving to the Lord

I dreamed I went to heaven
You were there with me
We walked along the streets of gold
Beside the crystal sea
We heard the angels singing
Then someone called your name
You turned and saw a young man
He was smiling as he came

He said friend, you may not know me now
But then he said but wait
You used to teach my Sunday school
When I was only eight
Every week you would say a prayer
Before the class would start
One morning when you said that prayer
I asked Jesus in my heart

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave

Then another man stood before you
And said remember the time
A missionary came to your church
His pictures made you cry
You didn’t have much money
But you gave it anyway
Jesus took the gift you gave
And that’s why I’m here today

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave

One by one they came,
As far as the eye could see
Each one somehow touched
By your generosity
Little things that you had done, sacrifices made
Unnoticed on the earth, heaven now proclaims
And I know up in heaven
That you’re not supposed to cry
But I was almost sure
There were tears in your eyes
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord
And He said my child look around you
For great is your reward

Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am a life that was changed
Thank you for giving to the Lord
I am so glad you gave
I am so glad you gave
I am so glad you gave