One year ago yesterday my Grandaddy passed away after 88 years of life. I'm not really sure what I could say to sum up his life other than he did it right. He loved Jesus. He loved his family. He loved others. He loved the church. I've never seen a better display of generosity and humility. He and Nanny were a living example of what Jesus describes in Matthew 25:
"I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me....to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."
Grandaddy got it. He got that his days on this earth were numbered and that he wouldn't be able to take earthly treasures with him. He poured his time and resources into what will last for eternity: the souls of men and the Kingdom of God. After his death, I heard countless stories of how he and Nan blessed others. One of my favorites took place years ago involving his grocery store. Grandaddy was an independent grocer for several decades and saw this as his ministry. His church gave underprivileged community members vouchers with which they could "purchase" grocery items at the church's expense. But everytime the pastor came to reconcile the vouchers, Grandaddy refused reimbursement from the church saying it was covered.
I'm so thankful to have had him for twenty-six years of my life. He was present at my choir concerts, my voice and piano recitals, my graduations, our engagement party, our wedding, Josh's ordination and seminary graduation, the birth of his great-granddaughter, and so many more memories staggered in between.
The last several years of his life, Grandaddy became more outwardly emotional. It was rare that he could bless the food or kiss a grandchild goodbye without a tearful eye. I loved seeing this soft, tender side of him. The night that he passed away, all of his family surrounded his hospital bed, hand in hand, singing old hymns, telling funny stories, praying over him. Even as Grandaddy struggled to breath there was a peace over him as he waited to meet our Lord. And in those sweet moments, his eyes teared up once again reassuring us of his love for those in that room. What a beautiful picture of the gospel. That when the reality of death sets in, we're once again reminded that death has lost its power. God has given us victory.
Thank you, Lord, for my Grandaddy.