Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lessons From A Friend I Didn't Really Know

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend I never knew. James Holton “Holt” Rowland, 16, entered eternity on November 10, 2010. I knew of Holt, but didn’t really know him personally, only having spoken with him a handful of times. The last time I remember seeing Holt was on October 14, 2010 at a wild game supper at Bristol Baptist where I was leading worship. I wish I would have gotten to know him, as I feel I have missed out on a great blessing.

As I listened to the men who were asked to share memories of Holt yesterday at his celebration service, I heard the testimony of a young man who loved Jesus. That wasn’t just something that Holt said. It was shared that most often he didn’t even have to say it because his love for Christ was evident in the way he lived his life. It was manifested in the way he loved his friends, family, baseball, church and community and in how he lived out the great commandment - to love God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength and to love his neighbor as himself. Holt understood that there was nothing inherently good in him; that good could only be found in God. And Holt lived and died bringing glory to God.

I came away from Holt’s service with a new perspective on my own life. Learning of Holt’s life challenged me to take inventory of where I’m at in my walk with Christ and showed me that I have a lot of growing up to do. As I pondered what kind of legacy I would leave if I died today, I came to realize that there is so much more I can do to exalt and magnify Christ in my time here on Earth. There are three specific areas where I must, as Holt reminded me, decrease so that Jesus may increase: my family, my church, my community.

If I could sum up in a single phrase what Holt Rowland’s life has taught me, it would be “Bloom where you are planted.” Many times I think that in order to glorify God and make His Name great I have to do something on a grand scale so that a lot of people will see it. But when I dig down to the root of this idea, I see pride and the desire to exalt myself rather than Christ. It pains me to admit this, but ultimately it is the truth. The sovereign Lord of the universe put me where He did so that my life would be spent pointing to Him and not me. So that is exactly what I commit to do from this day on. To bloom where I’m planted so that Christ may be exalted and worshiped.

If I could tell Holt something today, I would tell him how much I admire his love for Jesus and for people. Because of our kinship in Christ, I count him as a brother and a friend, though I never really knew him. And, because of Jesus Christ, I know that I’ll be where he is one day. Although I don’t fully know how it all works up there in Heaven, I hope that I will get to spend at least a small fraction of eternity getting to know Holt. One thing is for certain, I’ll know where to find him - worshiping at the feet of the Savior he loves.

See you later, Holt.

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