Much has been written in recent years about the passing of “the Greatest Generation.” That label, coined by Tom Brokaw in his book of the same name, refers to Americans who lived during the time of the Great Depression and World War II. What would have happened to this nation had not those brave and valiant men and women given their energy and devotion to saving our freedoms? Now that they are passing from the scene, who will step up and take their places in the front lines?
My family recently suffered the passing of a great gentleman from that generation. His contributions, however, were most significant in another arena. A spiritual soldier, he was devoted for many decades to the pure and simple truth of God’s word. His passing leaves a large gap in the front lines.
This soldier served for a time as an elder in the Lord’s church. According to his children, he took that responsibility very seriously. He was often out late into the evening, visiting in the homes of those under his charge. When he wasn’t in homes, he might be found in a restaurant, discussing over coffee the work and the challenges of the congregation. Every member of that church was of importance to him.
His commitment to the word of God was rock-solid. A Bible remained on the table beside his chair to the very end. Beside it were a clipboard and a pencil for making notes from his studies. He had a curious habit when challenged on a Bible question: he extended his hand, palm up, as if holding an open Bible. It was a nonverbal message that the one questioning his views must show him in the Bible the point they affirmed. If shown, he would accept their argument. But not until.
This soldier of Christ lived his faith at home. Both of his sons have been full-time preachers, and both continue to actively serve the Lord and his people. Both of his daughters married men who preach. His wife, the one who brought him to the Lord, was a continual source of strength and encouragement.
He was one who wanted the church to grow, but not at the expense of truth. He believed in unity, but unity built on the foundation of God’s word. He believed in worship that is fervent and from the heart, but solidly rooted in the commands and examples of the New Testament. He had no patience with false teachers.
Yes, the kingdom has suffered a great loss with the passing of another soldier from this great generation. Many others of his ilk have also passed from the scene. Gaps are appearing all across the battle lines.
In every congregation we see those who are bystanders. What the Lord’s church desperately needs are gap-standers!
“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30, NKJV).
Old Soldiers Are Passing; Will New Ones Arise?