In Memory of an Old Friend

He lived on my way home from visiting on the western side of Comanche County (beautiful country out there), so if I saw Dwight’s Ford truck in the drive, I would always come to the back door (that’s how neighbors are) and drop in for a quick visit on my way home. We sat, many an afternoon, watching his garden grow, admiring the flowering weeds, and planning fishing trips we both knew we’d never take (but they were still fun to plan). One week, he slept in the gentle hands of the Savior; and the hope of heaven grew sweeter with another saint’s surrender.

I never had the privilege to know Dwight that he wasn’t suffering from cancer. The longer I preach the closer I’ve become and the more I respect aged Christians; for their strength of character, their patience with life’s turmoil, and their willingness to share their life with a young fellow so busy he barely has time to turn around, let alone stop for a moment. Dwight helped me slow down every now and then, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed visiting with him so much.

Dwight was a Christian. He always managed to tug at my heartstrings when we visited because he’d apologize profusely for not making it to assemblies, sitting there weak as a kitten from leukemia treatments; and this rush of shame would pour over me like hot wax for whining about how hard I thought I had it. How noble is the man who, in his physical inability, still desired in spirit to assemble with the saints. Shame on healthy Christians for forsaking the assembly!

I am sure that there are many others who, if they had the opportunity to eulogize Dwight, could have spent days doing so and never touch the hem of the garment. But, allow me to boldly say that our confidence in God is such that we know He promises rest to His children; Dwight was God’s child. So, I will take great comfort in God’s promise to Christians: “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Many years have since passed but, someday, I look forward to hearing those words spoken at my funeral service as confidently as I spoke them at Dwight’s: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant … enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:23). It makes the most of the memory of an old friend.

Jeff Sweeten