There are occasional events which impact us so greatly that we choose to share with others. Such is the event I attended this week. This blog is longer than normal, as after “cutting and cutting”, I could not convey the message, if I continued to delete. Nonetheless, the value in this blog is what we can do for God and others, if we just listen to God’s voice.
Two weeks ago yesterday our pastor mentioned from the pulpit about the passing of a man whom had meant much to our church and also to him. I’ll call this man Paul for during his memorial service some referred to him as the apostle Paul of our day.
I was perplexed why so many could be so sorrowful over the passing of a man in our community. Yesterday, I understood their rationale. Paul’s funeral had been earlier in the week and the service at our church was a memorial; for those that loved and respected him. I didn’t know him, but I desired to attend to learn why this man had been such an inspiration to countless persons.
I arrived at the memorial service twenty-five minutes before it began. At 2 p.m. as the service was to begin, I looked behind me and was in absolute shock…there were at least 1,500-2,000 people at that service- What-? Who is this man? I quickly learned he was a man among men. He had impacted hundreds of individuals and thus families, during his seven decades of life. For when the “man” of the home is changed, so too is the family.
Paul was not any more special than other people in this life, but he heard God’s call, which he heeded. He earned a degree at a state university, but then opted to go to seminary and from there, he pastored a church, but not for long. He realized that God called him to minister to men-for men to be the head of their homes and families-for men to be a “one woman man.”
Paul led the men that when he chose his wife- he stood firm- “she was the one” until death and he never considered another woman. One of the sons spoke about the fact that he would attend conferences with his dad and he said he knew his father had to at least “see” other women, but no–he said, his dad instilled in the men he led that as men of God there had to be only one woman in their lives and his son said his dad lived every word he spoke.
The sons shared how men would come to their home and their father would take them into his office, open his bible and listen to the men-their needs and pray with them. Each of Paul’s three children shared how Paul “lived his life” every day and every minute in the way God desired.
They noted if Paul felt he had spoken harshly or said something unkind, he was immediately at their side to apologize. When Paul’s wife spoke, she shared that Paul always accepted the blame in situations which he truly had not been at fault for, but Paul so greatly desired to “live as God desired of him. ”You don’t have 1,500-2,000 people at your memorial serivce, if you didn’t impact many along the way.
One man shared he and his wife had been divorced for seven years, but when he attended Paul’s bible study, he reconciled with his wife, renewing their vows. Paul made such an impact on his life that he too wanted only to follow God’s direction for the remainder of his life. I walked out of the memorial service after 3.25 hrs.- yes that long! Every minute-every word was a reminder to me of what God can and will do in the lives of those of those that truly follow Him.
Paul said if a man follows God- their wives, home and children will thrive. Paul’s eldest son shared that Paul told all of his children “there is no success in your lives, if God is not at the center of your lives.” I only wish I could share the countless other things I learned about this “man among men” that said “here I am God-use me.”
NIV Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go with us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me.”