Two weeks ago on Friday, Abundant Life lost a great man. Robert (Bob) Stanton Sr. went to be with the Lord. We had his memorial service this past Saturday with a full sanctuary of family and friends in attendance. Gerald Calaway, one of our members and a retired minister, remarked to me prior to the service that we had, “lost one of the happy people.” Gerald was certainly right.
When asked to officiate at his funeral and to finalize the day at the graveside, I started thinking about what section of scripture I would use and came to…
1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 where we read…
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
As I got to know Bob and from numerous conversations with many people about him, I have come to the conclusion that he fulfilled every aspect of the above section of scripture. Just a month prior to Bob’s death his beloved wife Ricky had passed away. She had suffered with Parkinson’s disease for several years and Bob had suffered a stroke about a year ago. Because of their health conditions they were forced to live in separate care facilities. With all of that on him, I never heard him nor can I find anyone who ever heard him complain. He was always encouraging and loving those around him.
It seemed as if he lived in a constant sense of praise to the Lord.
Considering all of this, let me pose a question for you and me. What will people’s testimony about us be at our funerals? Will our faith and consistency of love and witness for God’s kingdom be the most noted aspects of our lives?
Bob, you set the bar pretty high. Thanks for giving us all a Godly example to aspire to follow.