February 28, 2013

Over the weekend we said goodbye to my grandpa. He passed away earlier this month and his funeral was held Saturday at Crest Baptist Church in Creston, Iowa (his obituary is here, with links to a slide show and the audio of the funeral). I had the opportunity to deliver the eulogy. It was an opportunity for which I am grateful as it helped me purposefully reflect on his life and work, and it allowed me a chance to publicly honor a man whose influence on my life was incredibly huge. Taking a twist on the "parable of the sower," I talked about the importance of someone making good soil for seeds to land in and grow in. Although he was sower, I felt the idea of him making good soil more fully captured his life as a preacher, public school teacher, and farmer. I also talked about his humor and storytelling, his friendliness and outgoing nature towards everyone, and his love for his family. Grandpa taught me a lot about being a good preacher, teacher, husband, father, and person. The church I pastored (Union Mound Baptist Church in Elkland, Missouri) was one of the churches he helped start. A couple of years after I left, we both returned to speak at the 50th anniversary (the photo is from that day). A key lay leader at the church from the beginning and on through today--Thelbert Gott--served as one of the pallbearers at the funeral. As we talked afterward, he reminded me grandpa had used the "parable of the sower" in his remarks at the 50th anniversary. Through churches like Union Mound and numerous people he impacted, his legacy continues to live on.