As a missionary, one of the biggest areas of sacrifice that I face is leaving family behind. Of course, I don’t mean the immediate family of my wife and kids, but the rest of my family – my parents, my brother, my sister-in-law and my nephew. This is an area that will probably always be difficult in my life as I live in another country and try to follow where God leads.
Not enough is often said, though, of the sacrifice of leaving church family. I grew up in Eastgate Bible Fellowship and spend a lot of time with the people that made it a church. I watched parents raise their children. I saw how various men treated their wives. I watched how people worshiped and struggled with their faith and was able to see how God used them in various ways. I also gained a number of role models.
This brings me to David McBee, our friend, ministry partner and financial adviser, who passed away this week. I knew that David lived with many physical struggles in his life. But I didn’t know because he shared it with me or because he complained about it. I often wonder how I was aware of these things because, truth be told, in his serving Jesus Christ, David didn’t really let on that he had those physical struggles. David taught a Sunday school class every Sunday morning without complaint and was always prepared. He led with humor and humility. He arrived on Sundays ready to hear how other people were and how he could pray for them. I could always expect a warm smile and usually a hug from David each time I saw him.
From David, I learned how to put my discomfort aside and look to other people first. I learned that a little levity can go a long way. I learned that being honest about your failings and limits allows you to praise God’s power all the more. I learned these things watching David simply live his life within our church family.
When we return from Texas in December I will certainly notice David’s absence just as I will notice pastor Brad’s. My spiritual family has lost another one of its brothers here are earth. A sister has lost her husband. I know that she is in good hands with our Father God and with her brothers and sisters in Christ at Eastgate. God has and will continue to work in and through Debbie’s life as he carries her through this loss.
I thank God for the time that I had with David here on earth and I look forward to when we are reunited in Heaven. It will be fun to spend time with the David I never knew here; the one who will probably challenge me to a wind sprint and beat me handily.