Passing is an interesting word. We use it for success and death. I passed a test and I will pass out of this life. In New Oleans we sometimes say, “We passed a good time, yeah!” We use the word in lots of ways. I suppose passing is in my mind as I passed the Hebron pulpit to Dr. Jerry Barlow for the weeks of February , March and the First week of April.
The baton is passed but my desires for the health of individuals who make up the Bush community and the body of Hebron Baptist Church has not passed away. In a small way, I’m following Helen Young, who passed from this world of care into the rest of her Savior last week. Miss Helen in passing expressed her wishes—Celebrate life and if you want to give flowers give the money to the Hebron building fund instead. In doing so she passed the test. Leaving for a better life she still cared, as always, for others and for her church. What a great lady and example of how to pass!
As I fly out of the country for witness and research in Egypt and among Muslims, some have quietly questioned my sanity. I can understand. There is a great myth in our day that we must guard our lives at all cost. Why go somewhere dangerous? Reality is that life is not “safe.” Reality also says that life is not just physical. There are dangers which require us as long as we possess life to take risks. We realize this when our loved ones are at risk from flood waters, storms, or crazed gunmen, but that is not the complete list of the dangers. Nor should we only concern ourselves with the people who share our same name or DNA. Risks are real but we need to be careful how we count them. Jim Elliot, who died in the last century seeking to share Christ with a South American tribe wrote in his diary, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Jesus said it even better, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul ? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul ?” Matt 16: 26 NAB translation of the Bible.
Life is a test. When you give yourself to Jesus, God credits you with the Father's evaluation of the Son. Passed!