Bud was my very good friend. It didn’t quite begin that way, though. We weren’t enough alike to become friends right away. He was retired; I was in my 20s. He was married, with grandchildren; I was single, with no children. He had extra time on his hands; I had too much to do. But I was the pastor and he was the head elder, so we had to find common ground.
I remember my first encounter with Bud. I was fresh out of seminary and on my way to my first post-seminary pastoral assignment. He and I spoke on the phone. He wanted to help me find a place to live. I wanted to do that by myself.
Later he offered to do pastoral visitation with me. We agreed to meet at 1:00 p.m. He arrived at 11:30 a.m.
As time passed I began to look forward to our times visiting together. I especially enjoyed his stories—stories of his growing-up years, stories of his different business ventures, stories about his family and friends, stories about the church.
Our pastoral visitation took us all over the city—near golf courses, where many retirees spent lots of time; past travel agencies advertising senior cruises; close to shopping malls promising anything a person might wish to enhance his later years.
Bud had sufficient means to spend more time and money at these places than could most others. But he invested himself—his time, his talents, and his efforts— in building up the body of Christ in our city. He did so even through the serious illness that ultimately took his life. And his efforts paid rich dividends in people won to Christ, a new church building, and the close friendship of a single and sometimes lonely pastor.
He became a fast friend whose investment in things eternal captured my admiration. In preparing his funeral sermon and in reflecting on Paul’s words that a man reaps what he sows, I began to comprehend what an immeasurable glory awaits him.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:7-10, NKJV).
By Randy Roberts
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