A few-weeks-ago, while returning home from a conference in Northern Indiana, Debra and I went a little bit out of the way and stopped in Evansville. I grew up in Evansville, joined the military and went oversees and then returned home. We were married in Evansville, I was converted there, and the Pastor, William Gaddis spent three years of his life training me in ministry. It’s also the town where my parents are buried.
We stopped there so I could go to Oak Hill Cemetery and visit, clean and decorate the graves of my parents. I try to do this at least once each year, and my two sisters make the same effort.
This is always a special time for me, and even after almost 20 years, the tears still flow as my mind goes back to the first part of my life, the memories of the good, and even the bad times.
At every trip, I still notice the inscription on the headstone that my parents share. Below their names you will find, “Faithful Ministers of the Gospel” inscribed into the marble.
Maybe its because I’m getting older, but that means more to me each time I see it.
My mind goes back to their years of sacrifice, living in the basements of churches so that a congregation could have a pastor. Cooking on hotplates, and heating water for sponge baths because there was no shower. I remember them rejoicing when a First Sunday offering was over $20 and when the tithe for the month would go above $300.
They loved our church, but more than that, they loved our Lord. Jesus was everything to them, and He made the sacrifice worth it.
On Memorial Day weekend, we remember our veterans, and I guess its appropriate to mention that my dad was one of the “greatest generation” serving in the United States Navy in the Pacific during world war two. He was in some of the major battles of history, and perhaps it was part of that experience that softened his heart when I joined the United States Army during the Vietnam conflict and went overseas. However, the REAL MAJOR BATTLE is now over for my dad and my mother. They were faithful ministers of the Gospel, and every time I think of them, my problems don’t seem so large.
They knew the value of sacrifice and the reward for faithfully discharging their duties. On this Memorial Day, while we honor the veterans of earthly conflict, please don’t forget to remember those who have gone before us, and made this path a little better for those of us who follow.