Sunday, February 19, 2006

Heroes of Faith

I spent the weekend with a fascinating woman: my mother! Friday was her birthday. An amazing feat for a woman who was a very sickly baby, whose own mother died a few weeks after my mother's birth. The granddaughter, daughter, and mother of preachers, she has spoken herself at college Bible lectureships and women's seminars (In fact, she will speak on one in April). She loves the Lord and his church deeply, still taking Bible courses at a school of biblical studies as well as teaching the Bible.
I also was able to worship with and lead singing at a great congregation: the Ridgedale church of Christ, a very conservative, racially integrated congregation where my father preached for seventeen years. One of the highlights was speaking again with a retired African-American preacher who worships there. William McCleskey preached for over fifty years. In the past, he and I have rotated preaching and leading singing for one another at nursing homes. Despite poor health, he too retains a brave spirit and a deep love for Christ. His grandson is one of the deacons at Ridgedale.
I also spent a few minutes with Clyde Holder, who was an elder there for over sixty-five years. A man of vision and compassion, he is one of a few men who spring to my mind when I hear discussion about biblical qualifications for elders.
I mention these three because they are among my heroes of faith - people who kept their focus on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. They each have directed many others to the Lord and have shown in their own conduct what it means to walk in his steps. May they know health and happiness; it may be selfish, but I still need them.

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