Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?
Isn’t if obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.”
James 2:14-18 (The Message)
The setting was beautiful as the sun began its descent toward the horizon a distant view across a white-capped Gulf of Mexico where we had gathered yesterday to pay our last respects to someone you probably don’t know.
But he was someone you would never forget if you ever met him.
You know folks like that. People who are in your life for a moment or more, and as a result your life is forever better. Those—you never forget—who offer an encouraging smile, a gleam of approval in their eye, a caring act of kindness, who are there to help you to face whatever you confront in life, or who simply offer a timely word of affirmation.
For the last forty-six-plus years, Lynda, and I knew him as Mr. Rayment. Others knew him as Doug, Daddy, Papa, Papa Doug. His bride of seventy-two years had many other names of endearment for the man for whom their time together was just a continuation of the honeymoon after their marriage vows.
He wasn’t particularly famous by the world’s standards, although he supervised the development of the first condominium project (and others) built in modern times. And even as he approached his ninety-second birthday in November he always laid claim to the child-like wonder of his youth which God had planted within him—and plants within each of us—allowing him to always see the good, the positive, the possible in whatever he faced in life.
Death is a real and difficult part of life for us who remain. But for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, as Mr. Rayment did, we know that death is simply the end of one moment in our eternal relationship with God and the beginning of another—even more glorious.
And through the memories of his life and the legacy he left—he lives on in our lives. He made a difference. A difference which began with and was rooted in his faith. The consistency of his loving acts of kindness—for family and friends—began with the certainty and depth of his faith in, and relationship with, Jesus Christ. From that moment of his life where he made a conscious decision of the head and heart to accept Jesus as his Savior and Lord—securing his place in eternity with his Heavenly Father—the purpose of his life was forever clear—love God, love others.
The sadness remains from his passing of a few days ago. It will always be there at some level or another. But with it also remains the joy in the assurance of knowing he sits within that great cloud of witnesses in the presence of his God. And with that assurance, those of us who remain are provided hope, comfort and strength for the living of today and tomorrow. And his legacy—both of faith in Christ and his consistent acts of love and kindness—is deeply embedded into every life—whether family, friends, co-workers, church and community members—which were a part of his.
What will we remember from his life?
What will we do with ours because of the lessons of his?
What do we need to examine within our own lives? Perhaps we need to evaluate where we stand in our own decision to ask Jesus Christ into our lives. It’s not about attending church or church membership. It’s not about just doing good. It’s about a personal decision—a defining moment—of asking Jesus Christ into your life. And then, once assured of that eternal life through Christ, perhaps our lives of kindness toward others will begin to look a bit like those whose example we remember.
Mr. Doug Rayment.
We are all grateful that we know people like him. They have taught us how to live our lives. And they have made a difference.
But do you know the One whom Mr. Rayment knew—Jesus Christ?
Because when you know Him, He will make all the difference in your life—now and in this world, and throughout eternity.
Just something to think about—and act upon—perhaps even today.
In His Name—Scott