Thursday, August 03, 2006


Abundance, as in abundant life. That hadn't been my intention, but that's what happened anyway.

The lesson from the SBC Quarterly had been about the Ten Commandments, and I'd prepared the lesson as usual. But when Alex, our class leader, stood and made the announcements at the start of the class hour, he announced about Troy Smith's death. God immediately impressed on me that there were some things I needed to say, right then. The picture shown here was posted on the Bulletin Board, along with a poem which a member wrote about Troy.

The discussion lasted the entire hour. It wasn't me .. the Couples for Christ Class is very interactive, and we all shared. And God intervened, bigtime. But a couple of points really hit home during the hour.

I asked the class to describe Troy's faith. Words like "deep", "strong", "powerful", and "abiding" were mentioned. The point I then made to the class was that Troy's faith was just like theirs. The steadfastness and joy which characterized Troy's life until the very end, were the results of decisions Troy had made. Decisions any believer can make.

One such decision is to simply believe God. Period. No Exceptions.

Another is to act like it. That, of course, mandates that we want to do that. It's not hard to do what you want to do. Tithing is easy, unless you don't want to. Patience is easy to manifest if you want to. Treating people nicely is easy, if you want to. What's hard is doing what you don't want to do.

That's the other point. God can offer us abundant life, peace that passes understanding, and joy unspeakable. But we don't have to live abundantly, or be peaceful, or joyful. We have to decide to do that.

Troy wanted to serve Jesus. He wanted to reflect God's love, and His mercy, and His joy. And he did just that.

If the picture above was of a man who was killed a few days later in a traffic accident, the word would be tragic. But it's not. It's a picture of a man who died a few days later, of cancer, and who probably knew he didn't have much time left on earth. So the word is different.

It's victorious.


At 10:26 AM, August 13, 2006, Blogger Kiki Cherry said...


I want people to be able to say those kind of things about my life when I die. Thanks for sharing such a meaningful tribute to your friend, and for challenging us all to pursue holiness.

At 12:20 PM, August 13, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thanks so much, Kiki, for the kind observations.

In the abstract, I don't know why any of us would want to settle for less than all God has for us. Including the things we can only obtain to as we move toward holiness in living. But we do.


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