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“How long have you lived in your home?” I asked a friend, as we shared the couch in his living room. He said, “Since Rev. Parmerter.” I assumed he meant Rev. Parmerter’s second stint as our pastor, from 1946-1955. His home felt warm and comfortable, yet incomplete. His wife had recently suffered a stroke and was now resting/ recovering at a nearby care facility. At the end of our conversation, we prayed together. My prayer was not long, but longer than his. His prayer was tender and to the point.

After I returned to the office, I phoned one of their daughters. She told me that her mother, staying at the care facility, had “seen Jesus” and was excited to go to be with Jesus. A precious encounter indeed! We talked of the care needs of both parents and closed our conversation with prayer. I later paused to reflect. An awkward place in life. One spouse, after 71 years of faithful marriage, excited to leave her frail and failing body to be with Jesus. The other spouse happy for his wife but already processing the burden of life alone in a house meant for more.

I am filled with gratitude for these friends. Since Rev. Parmerter, 47 pastors have served on staff at Pearce Memorial Church. Our two dear friends have loved and encouraged and prayed for everyone, without exception.

The line of those who have been blessed and are being blessed by the faithful friendship and encouragement of these two saints is longer than our line of sight. Those awaiting them in their heavenly reward, to thank them for the many blessings of their full and faithful lives, will be countless.

And I reflect further. My longing for heaven has been strengthened and refreshed. My longing to live a life of purpose has been strengthened and refreshed. As the lives of these two friends have blessed, and are yet blessing so many, how might I give my life this very day to be a blessing to others—family, friends, and neighbors? How might I—how might we—live this day to better encourage family, friends, and neighbors on the journey to Jesus?

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