Thursday, August 07, 2014

Heroic Friendship

…And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.    Hebrews 11:4

Our community is currently between three significant memorial celebrations of men in our community who lived heroically.  Many of you would know the names of Marc Segal, Dr. Eldon Ellis and fewer of you would know the name of Dr. Ken Lincoln, but in a period of eight days, I have the honor of participating in each one’s memorial service or internment, and each man left an enduring impact on my life.

It is a sacred benefit to serve in a community, surrounded, sharpened and encouraged by men and women who are living Christ-centered, significant lives and then to minister at the memorial celebration of their lives. I understand fully why the wisest man who ever lived wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:2, It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.  In other words, Solomon states that it is better to go to a memorial than a graduation party, because it is the memorials that jar us from our denial and awaken us to the reality that we are mortal. Our life is but a vapor on this earth and that the value of our lives is determined by how we invest our lives.

So permit me please to share briefly the enduring lessons I’ve learned from these three men:

Dr. Ken Lincoln: The example of a humble heart for the world. Ken was a Stanford-trained engineer who had a stellar career at NASA.  But his enduring contribution to me was the way his countenance lit up when he would speak of world missions.  Google his name and almost nothing will come up, but his fame in eternity must be incredible.  Ken and Shirley had huge hearts for the world and for Campus by the Sea, a place that holds unspeakable significance in the Gaddini family. They changed countless lives around the world by investing in God’s heart for the world and not caring who gets the credit.

Marc Segal: The example of a servant’s heart for the margins.  Marc’s life was largely invested in serving two groups of people who essentially have no voice in our culture: children and the elderly. Marc dignified his calling by serving these two groups with such vigor and excellence. Marc’s obituary reads well, but in my eyes he lived significantly primarily by investing in God’s heart for people who don’t have a voice.

Dr. Eldon Ellis:  The example of a father’s heart for his daughter.  Eldon was a true gentleman. His investment on this Peninsula and around the world is large.  While his obituary details his well-accomplished life, his lasting legacy to me was finding out from his daughter Becky, when I first came to PCC 17 years ago, of her regular dates with her dad.  Seeing Becky’s glow of admiration as she spoke of meals shared with her dad locked in my resolve to date my daughters, something I endeavor to do almost two decades later with all five of my daughters on a regular basis.

Like Abel in Hebrews 11:4, these three men, though dead are still speaking.  I wonder in every memorial I am a part of, “What sermon will my life preach long after I’m gone?”  It’s a good question to ponder. May I remind us all that it is never too late to become the person God had in mind when He created us!

Wondering what was the secret to all three lives?  You can discover it here.

Yes, these men were human and broken, but they were heroic in many ways.  This Sunday we will continue in our Heroes series looking at Heroic Friendships.  You can read in advance 1 Samuel 18-23.  I will be speaking on the famous friendship of David and Jonathon.

I love being your pastor!