Monday, November 16, 2009

The Measure of a Man

The kindest, funniest, friendliest, gentlest, godliest, most Christ-like man I've ever known died last Sunday. He was my pastor. Bill Roycroft.
I'd been overwhelmed at the loss until we got to say goodbye at his funeral this past Saturday. All 1000 or so. It was an incredible celebration of life. Our church sees about 50-100 people a Sunday, but his life was so lived that his congregation numbers in the thousands and is spread over several countries.

I wish there were adequate words to describe this man. He was quiet and gentle and safe. He was hilarious and mischevious and goofy. He was passionate. He was radical. He overflowed love and compassion and forgiveness.

Sometimes the Christian life seems elusive and surreal. Until you meet a man like Bill. He was Christ to so many. To me. He walked in His footsteps. And by example showed others how to do the same. You know that saying that says, 'preach the gospel and if necessary, use words'. Well that was Bill. The teens adored him. And he them. He just, in his casual way, made everyone feel valued. You'd leave time spent with him, determined to try harder, to live better, to follow more closely to the Lord.
Sadly, perhaps, or not, the true measure of a man is seen after he is gone. The true measure of a Pastor, I think, is that when he is gone, does his flock lose their way and scatter? Or do they cling to his teachings, his ways and examples and continue in the ministry. Stronger for have knowing the man. I know I'm stronger. His congregation is stronger. Like the disciples after Christ returned to the Father - they took what he'd taught and really changed the world by living and being like Him.
I think the ultimate measure of a man will be when they stand before the Lord. What will they have done with the gifts that He gave them on this earth? Would they have lived in Christ's shadow?
Bill's cowboy boots are big to fill, but for anyone that knew him, he gave them the tools they need to keep on going. Just like Christ gave us the tools to live the lives of love He requires.


Jayne said...

He sounds like such a wonderful soul Heather. I am so sorry for your loss. May light perpetual shine upon him and may his ways inspire others to walk in his light.

Michelle said...

What a wonderful tribute to a man who so obviously loved the Lord. What a blessing to know that with such a person, good-bye is not forever. ((((HUGS)))))

Deborah said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Cary at Serenity Farms said...

Heather, I am sorry for the loss of your pastor and friend - but what a joy to know that you will see him again in Heaven! Your remembrance of his life were very profound.

Love the photos of your nieces and nephews, too! Its great you are close enough to spend time together.

Cicero Sings said...

So sad to lose such a good pastor. It'll test the congregations mettle though ... wherein does there trust truly lie?!