A few weeks ago , a dear friend and brother passed away, and for various reasons, unforseen, I was unable to make it to the funeral. I have had an ache in my heart since, not that he died, for I know my brother is in a better place, but because I feel closure cannot come to me until I offer a public eulogy for this good man.
My wife Kristin and I met Bob, and his late wife Judy, as young pastors. We were in our late twenties when we met, and they were perhaps in their late fifties. They had recently come to the LORD, largely through the testimony of their son Bob, who himself had recently given his life to Jesus.
Bob and Judy loved Jesus, and they loved our little fellowship. They took to the services, and soaked up the teachings and the worship. They were filled with the Spirit, and the LORD would often use Bob Sr in the gifts of the Spirit. He would often given an utterance in prophecy or tongues and interpretation to edify all of us.
Bob senior would often tell me that he and Judy needed the church, and that they came along at just the right time in their lives, but the truth was, we needed them as well. We needed their wisdom and experience which they readily offered. Bob and Judy were Grandma and Grampa North to our children, and we considered them as family.
Though they were older than we, they were actually pretty youthful as well. I remember Bob North Sr doing some work around the church (which was attached to our house. He was washing off some paint brushes with a hose, when my wife threw a glass of water out the screen window at him, from our kitchen. Bob didn’t miss a beat, he took the hose up to the window and soaked Kris in her own kitchen The waterfight was on!
Everything we did as a young church, Bob and Judy were totally involved in, giving of themselves, their time and money and energy. All was unto the LORD, but we also received the benefit of it. I still remember shingling and siding the building addition with Bob Sr, and doing sheet rock at the new church with him and many others. We worked as a team, unto the LORD.
Brother Bob was great with people as well. His wisdom and experience were drawn upon over the years, time and again by the men of the church, and as the church matured, Bob’s maturity beyond most of us, was a treasure.
When God builds a church, it is not a haphazard affair. He, the wise masterbuilder puts the stones in place, fitting and shaping them, putting them in place as it pleases Him. This is to the benefit of everyone else. Bob and Judy were just the right pieces or the temple we call “Believers in Grace”, they were team players, they put others ahead of themselves, and took their place in the body , meeting a real need for a long time.
When I think about brother Bob, There is a beautiful scripture about Christian growth in I John 2 which comes to mind,
I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. ( I John 2:12-14)
There are in Christ, children, Fathers and Young men. Children is entry level and they have two great privileges just by virtue of being born again; They have forgiveness of sns, and they know the Father above.
Young men are in the battle and by the Word they are destined to “overcome the wicked One”.
But then there are Fathers, they have weathered the spiritual storms, they have been through the times when the truth has seemed to have been eclipsed, and they have realized the eternity of God, that this wold and all lust pass away, but God is forever.They have been tried, and come through.
Bob Sr was like a Father to us, we went through a lot together, He stayed calm through the storms, and we saw something of “Him who is from eternity…” in Him. I Love you brother Bob, and we will see you again soon…