Ode to a Friend and Mentor
Ken’s sixty-five short years left a mark that will be felt for generations to come.
On the day I attended Ken’s funeral earlier this week, a scripture passage appeared in my personal reading that suited him perfectly.
In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul commended the church in Thessalonica for the way they loved one another, but also for the way they loved the saints throughout Macedonia. Then he went on to say this.
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“But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more [offer them even more brotherly love], and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 ESV).
In many ways, these verses described Ken’s lifestyle perfectly.
As I mentioned last week, Ken was like a mentor to me. But I learned even more about him at his memorial as his family shared stories. They described a giant of the faith who radiated these character traits (and more) Paul listed.
“Dad did not rule from an iron throne but from his giant recliner, where he bestowed much wisdom upon his wild children,” his wife and six children shared in his memorial bulletin.
“If Dad was not at his desk or in his recliner, he could be found smoking one of his several hundred cigars on the back deck while enjoying the sun and fresh air. He believed in having all the comforts regardless of time of year – a canopy during the hot summer and a fire pit during the cold winter.
“However, Dad never understood why Mom would not allow him to light up the fire pit with the canopy at the same time. Thanks to Dad, memories were made on the deck all year round; thanks to Mom, nothing burned down.”
Last week, I told you about the time I met him in a cigar bar. But I also sat out there on his back deck with him once in a while. It didn’t have a spectacular view, unless you are impressed by an apartment complex parking lot. But it was his refuge, and that made it spectacular – well, that and the conversation. We talked theology, tennis, politics, business and books. Oh, did that man love to read.
“This summer, we cleaned out Dad’s storage unit,” the bulletin continued. “We have boxes of books that, when all stacked together, take up enough space for a Buick. We know this because Mom’s Buick is in the driveway while the books are in the garage.”
That just described his physical book collection. He also downloaded books by the virtual boatload on his Kindle.
But more than that, he loved to read the Bible. His wife revealed that he read through the book of Proverbs over and over, always with fresh eyes, in search of Solomon’s wisdom.
Ken’s sixty-five short years left a mark that will be felt for generations to come. And I feel grateful to have called him a friend.
Here are some tidbits you might find interesting this week:
I think I’ve shared this link before, but it’s so much fun to watch Griffi the cockatoo rocking out. If you like this, he has his own YouTube channel where you can watch him dance the night away.
I watched The Magic of Ordinary Days late one night this week. It’s such a good movie — one that challenges the modern view of romantic love. For now, you can watch it for free on the Pluto app.
In the U.S. store, Amazon is running a 56% off sale on the print version of Finding Common Ground, a collection of heartfelt essays I wrote. This is the complete three-book series in one volume for just $7.86 (please double-check the price before you buy it; I’m not sure when it will go back to the full price).
“The old man is not sent to the hospital to be healed, but to the cross to be crucified.” —Charles Spurgeon
When Lee isn’t writing essays, devotional books, or Christmas novellas, he is a freelance editor, as well as a freelance journalist who has written hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines. He’s also a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.
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