In tribute

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children …” (Proverbs 13:22).

On the same day that I learned my father was being handed over to the loving care of Hospice, I also learned I would have a grandson.

I cannot possibly make sense of this. One does not make up for the other, of course. But life ebbs away … and begins anew. One has been a life of distinguished service for the Lord. The other is full of potential. One has a destiny that, as certainly as can be known humanly, is set for glory. The other is a journey with all kinds of uncertainty.

Life is a gift. It was a gift to have seen my father close up. You should know that what you heard in sermons and saw in public is what was present in private with his family, too. He was the real thing. He loved the Lord, and loved the church, and was baffled at attempts to diminish or sully either.

One day someone will tell little Gideon about his grandfather. He will hear of antics – the “cat” that always seemed to turn up when Loy Mitchell was around, the profound ability, sufficient to have preached for a US congregation of a thousand.
Instead, he preached to fifteen tribesmen on a rock, under a tree.

But can we remind ourselves that after decades of mission work, he would preach for congregations of five, six hundred Zimbabweans, congregations he began, led by men he converted and trained, shepherds whom he helped to mature.

The legacy little Gideon will receive will be immense. The trail will still be warm. The people who owed his great grandfather their spiritual lives will still tell of it. The legacy will reach out and provide shade even for this little boy. Will the two ever meet? I hope they do, if not here, well, I hope they meet at their home in heaven.

“Pay to all what is owed them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7).

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