A tribute to my brother-in-law, Larry Mills
August 25 , 2017
This article is dedicated in remembrance of my brother-in-law, my enthusiastic Brother in Christ, Larry Mills. I also dedicate this article in honor of his wife, Brenda, of 48 years; forever beside Larry, dedicated to Larry, a strong and steady person.
Larry and Brenda: ”…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’”
I was blessed to be beside Larry when he passed away. It was a special honor for me. It was an honor because I was included with his children, his grandchildren, his dedicated wife, Brenda, his siblings, his close friends, all joined to be part of his passing; one of most intimate times of a person’s life. When I stood there, and at the time when Larry passed away, I felt the words, “Good and Faithful Servant.” I imagine Jesus was in the room with us, held out His hand towards Larry and said, “It is time Larry, get up, take my hand and come with me my Good and Faithful Servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.” These are simple words, easily overlooked, but for Jesus to speak these words they have great meaning. The four words, “Good and Faithful Servant” make up our life and relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They are used by Jesus in the parable “The Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25.
The word “Good” means, “to be desired or approved of.; having the qualities required for a particular role.” You’ll notice in Matthew 25:21 Jesus did not use the word “perfect.” You see the word “perfect” means, “absolute; complete, without flaw.” We all have our flaws, and in Isaiah 64:6 it is said, “But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.” None of us are perfect; nor are we called to be. I wish I was not so quick to judgement, I wish anger was not part of my life, I wish I was more kind to others and the list goes on. I have only the ability to try to improve knowing I will never completely succeed; never perfect. But this is where Jesus reaches for us with His right hand and catches us before we are swept away in our iniquities. None of us will be perfect in the eyes of God in this world, this is why Christ was sent to us. What makes us “good” in the eyes of the Lord is that we acknowledge our imperfections and bend at our knees, kneel in humbleness, and cry out to the Lord to forgive us, while also fulfilling the role God has set before each of us. We have the burning desire in our soul to serve the Lord, and to eventually be with our Lord in the place He calls Peace.
The next word “and” means to be joined. In the context of Christ, we are to be joined with Him. We are to be Good and Faithful. A Good and Faithful person is one who fulfills their role as called by the Lord.
The next word, “Faithful” means, “steadfast in affection or allegiance; firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty.” Larry was faithful to the Lord, and he was faithful to his family. The legacy left behind by Larry is a testament to His faithfulness to the Lord; to his wife, to his children, and his brothers and sisters in Christ. It is our faith that provides us strength to endure the difficult times in our lives. When Jesus was walking up to Cavalry with the cross of sin on His back, Christ faltered, Christ fell to the ground, but His faith gave Him the strength to get back up while bearing the cross of pain and suffering. Larry suffered for many years with various health issues, but he remained faithful to the Lord; forever believing. Larry physically struggled to go to church to sing one more song for the Lord. Aren’t all our lives like this? Always with a cross of sin on our back, struggling to be faithful, ever extending our hand up to the Lord asking Him to help us back up; all so we may continue on our faith journey. Faith means failing, faith means getting back up because we believe, we believe that the struggle towards the Lord is worth it. We believe that there is a God, there is life after death, we believe there is a place of infinite peace.
The final word is “Servant.” If you think of Jesus, above all, He came to serve. In John 3:17 it is written, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Jesus came as a Servant! Jesus came to serve you, me, and all of us, to save us from our sin. He does not come to condemn, but to save. Jesus served.
“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Larry would have washed the feet of anyone who came to him in need. I believe Larry would have gathered a pail, I believe he would pour water into it, I believe he would bring it to the person, and gently dip their feet into the water and washed their feet. Larry was a servant of the Lord. We are all called to serve the Lord by serving others. It’s not an easy task. Our service is not to seek worldly rewards, instead, our reward for being a Good and Faithful Servant is for our heavenly reward.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Jesus uses the word, “blessed” to describe our final reward, we are made holy; consecrated, to live with those who live with God in heaven. Our confidence is in Christ who will wash us of our imperfections, makes us whole again, and lead us into the home with the Lord. In Revelations we are promised a place where our sickness is healed, where our imperfections are washed away, our worries are wiped away, and we are gifted the joy to be with our loved ones serving God. Isn’t it a wonderful thought that someday we all will joining together with glorious voices singing to our Lord, “Holy holy holy is the Lord God almighty.”