This week, many all over the world were reminded of the brevity of life and our own mortality. Often when a distant friend, relative or acquaintance passes, we take note, possibly pay our respects and quickly refocus our attention on the living. But when we lose someone that is very special and close to us, the impact is much more profound. Such was the case in my own life this very week.
One of these had surrendered his life many years ago to Christ and was serving in full time ministry. During two lengthy periods in his life, he would leave his home (and homeland) and give of himself to a people of another culture and country. These would learn as many have that this young man was serving out of love and devotion to them, but most of all, his love for Jesus.
I was privileged to walk the streets and ride the busses of Ukraine with him on numerous occasions. What I witnessed was a man that was truly on mission from God to reach those that were perishing without Christ. He was genuine, a man without pretense, and because of this God gave him the fruit of the harvest. Even now, I can see his smile and the intensity of his eyes that appeared to be scanning for a need he could meet.
The other brother who was lost to me and many others this week also served in ministry. Often, his was the first face that many of the residents of the Home of Grace saw when they came for their three month stay. This incredible man did not need to put on his smile as a part of his wardrobe in the morning. I can imagine that he slept with it since it emanated from his very soul. He, like my missionary friend, impacted every person he came in contact with. Their common denominator was love for Christ and for their fellow-man.
And so, there are two great voids in my world and the world of many others today. It isn’t likely that anyone can replace my two friends, but God can raise up others that can carry on the work that they have begun. He always has, and He always will.
There is no greater nor more lasting joy than to be one that is engaged in the service of our Lord and to those in need. The greatest need for all is to hear the gospel, the “good news,” and to receive it and be transformed for all eternity. Both of these great men were faithful to do that to the very end.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13