I received word yesterday that a dear brother in the faith, Pastor George, had gone home to be with the Lord. Pastor George served on staff at the church I grew up attending during most of my childhood and young adulthood. I wanted to share with you, my readers, a little about pastor George for today’s post, because he is a wonderful example to us all and I believe we can learn from him.
If you were anywhere near pastor George’s scope of influence, you knew who he was, and you can be sure that he knew you! Pastor George was a ball of enthusiasm and energy; a jovial force to be reckoned with. If there was a need, pastor George was going to fill it or find someone who could. I cannot think of a single other person who I have personally observed who was so entirely others-driven. George loved Jesus, he loved everyone he laid eyes on, and he was going to help you however he could and also take the opportunity to tell you about Jesus. He was a walking billboard of Christian love and herald of good news, and everyone knew it. It was clear to me, as a yet-to-be-genuinely-saved individual, how sincere he was. I recently wrote about how growing up I recognized differences between myself and those who were genuine believers. There was zero phoniness with George. He was the real deal. Only the Lord can enable someone to love, care, and serve faithfully for so many years the way George did.
George coined a phrase he was known for saying that encompassed his own strategy in life: Give’em heaven! He would say this to whoever he was speaking to as his closing thought. More importantly, he lived out this saying in the way he showed genuine Christian love and care to fellow believers and non-believers alike. He clearly lived out Jesus’ command in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Another way in which George was like Jesus was that he showed no partiality. I truly appreciated this about him, and know that others did as well. Romans 2:11 says “For God shows no partiality.” James instructs us in 2:1 “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” How are we doing on being impartial, brethren? It is difficult, but it is commanded in scripture and is a mark of a believer. I am thankful that God shows no partiality, aren’t you?
Like Jesus, George had a singular focus. Jesus’ was completely focused on the will of His Father and completing His mission. George, likewise, was singularly focused on obeying the Lord and sharing the gospel. We would do well to examine ourselves and ask: do others see a singular focus in our lives, and is it the Lord?
The Lord blessed George with an easy-going temperament. George never seemed to me to take offense. Part of that was due to his God-given temperament, and part of it can be attributed to increasing sanctification. Covering, or not taking offense, is a mark of a believer. Proverbs 19:11 tells us “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Likewise, Proverbs 10:12 says “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” and 17:9 proclaims “Whoever covers an offense seeks love.”
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul exhorted the church at Corinth to “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” Pastor George is/was a Paul in my life. He imitated Christ, living out Christian love in a tangible way. Demonstrating his spirit was controlled by the Holy Spirit producing fruit in keeping with the Spirit. The Corinthians were to imitate Paul as he imitated Christ. Those who knew pastor George can imitate him, as he imitated Christ. What a legacy! What an example. A goal worth striving for and emulating. Lord, let it be so of me.
Soli Deo Gloria!