This past Friday night another class went into the basketball Hall of Fame. This class happened to include Michael Jordan. His entrance somewhat overshadowed the other inductees. There is truly an “air” about him.
Michael talked openly about the things that spurred him on – the things that motivated him. He was so open about it that it offended some. Yet the common underlying factor was Michael himself. Everything he said that motivated him was when he felt he had something to prove. This self-centered approach definitely brought out the competitor in Michael and allowed him to rise to the top of the game of basketball.
This week I want to highlight someone else that I think entered the Hall this past week – not the basketball Hall of Fame, but instead the Hall of Faith. (Of course I could write about David Robinson as an example for both.)
Last Tuesday my wife’s grandfather went home to be with the Lord. He was 100 yrs old and absolutely loved the Lord. As my wife looked through one of his Bibles she found notes on every page. He was a consistent prayer warrior. He was witnessing to people even in the last week of his life. We heard stories of this 100 yr old man getting up each night to talk to the nursing staff at his assisted living home.
As I sat on the podium as part of the pastoral team that officiated his funeral, I was amazed at the respect and admiration everyone had for this man; and I was reminded of his words to me and my son just over a year ago. As he had prayed with my son and me, he began to cry. He didn’t understand why people would seek him out for prayer and advice because all he ever wanted was “to bring glory to Christ.” That is precisely why I told him we valued his prayers and advice.
John 3: 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
My wife loved and cherished her grandfather very much. She shared at the funeral a piece that she had written the day her grandpa died. I thought I would share it with you as his induction speech into the Hall of Faith.
September 8, 2009 – Papa’s Homecoming
“On September 8, 2009 I had the privilege of watching my grandfather go home to be with Jesus. What a precious gift from God - a gift that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
On the early afternoon of September 7 our family received a call from Hospice telling us that my grandfather was “leaving” and that we needed to get to his retirement home soon. When we arrived we were able to tell him we love him; and although he could hardly open his eyes he made sure to let us know he knew we were there.
Around eight that evening we noticed my grandfather no longer labored to breathe; he slept with such ease and peace on his face. His color was beautiful. We marveled at the fact that he was breathing better than he had in years. He was in a coma at that point (a God-induced coma).
We sat for hours beside his bed as staff members came in to check on him, each with her own story. All were sharing another piece of the legacy he had left behind.
One-by-one stories were told of his kindness, his wit, and most of all his love for the Lord. What a testimony: he shared the love of God and the assurance of salvation with so many!
When Papa Guy breathed his last breath I was standing over him looking into his face. It amazed me how quickly his life went out of him – I literally watched it. It was as if he went from my grandfather to a shell all within that last breath. All of the sudden there was no need to kiss again or to say good-bye – because he was gone! His spirit had left the room; and there was peace; and there was praise for God’s awesome amazing grace!
Papa Guy entered Heaven at 5 minutes before 6:00 AM on my birthday. What a gift from God! What an amazing opportunity to have watched my grandfather leave this nasty old earth to spend all of eternity in glory. AMEN!
Later that morning my Aunt Linda looked at me and said, “You know he’s too busy up there to even start to look back at us.” For the rest of the day I giggled at the thought of him in Heaven – betting he is continuing his journey of knowing the Lord deeper – sitting at the feet of the Almighty just taking Him in.
I love you Papa Guy. Thank you for your life’s example, your prayers, and your love!!!