It was an unusual assignment to say the least. Write a blog entry celebrating the life of a long time church volunteer. While unusual, how difficult could it be? Which is what I always say when I’m scared to death to write what I have been assigned.
Could I pull poignant words together to sum up the character of a man I’d never met in 500 words or less? Add to that the pressure of invading upon the family’s grief to acquire necessary data, insecurities about my writing began to show.
But in the end, the writing was easy, not because I’ve honed my craft, but because the subject’s life captivated me.
Bob was a teacher and counselor in the education system for many years. But after he retired, he wanted to remain active. In his 70’s he discovered a new side of himself. He crafting crosses out of nails, screws and, for the sports fans, golf tees. Even when the disease that finally took his life was ravaging his body, late into the night you’d still find Bob making these little crosses.
The work was a labor of love for him as the nails signified the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross. But they became something else. A changed life starts with a defining moment. Those little crosses were used by God and Bob to influence individuals in the most important decision they’d ever make.
Someone would compliment Bob on the cross he wore, and boom! They received not only a cross of their own for Bob kept dozens in his pockets; they also heard a compelling personal account of how the redeeming work done on the cross saved Bob and could save them. As I wrote about how Bob changed the eternity of so many, I wondered if he ever questioned why God chose to use him in the first place.
It’s not dramatic to create crosses out of nails, but it is cathartic to know God meets us in our brokenness to transform lives. Even as he was close to death, Bob was still creating – still trying to find ways to inspire men and women, students and adults to surrender their lives to Jesus. What an unspeakable privilege Bob received from God!
Bob and I have one thing in common – we try to reach the word for Christ through a creative process. And while saddened because we’d never discuss it in this realm, I rejoice there are others who spread the Christ’s love.
True contentment is found only at the foot of the cross. It is joy unspeakable.