I am going to die one day. What will Luke say at the funeral? What will your child say about you at your funeral?
I just finished a wonderful book, They Found the Secret: 20 Transformed Lives That Reveal a Touch of Eternity, by V. Raymond Edman. The book documents the various struggles 20 Christians faced in moving from despair and depression based on self-effort to the abundant life found by letting Christ live His life through them. These twenty Christians went from relying on their own strengths and became filled with the Holy Spirit and used His strength for the work they were called to do.
All twenty chapters start off with a name and then an adjective describing what that person experienced. For example, J. Hudson Taylor: The Exchanged Life, consists of 4-5 pages describing how Hudson Taylor was able to bear tremendous burdens and yet remain absolutely calm and unruffled because He exchanged the self-effort, self-indulgent life, that he once had, to a life that strictly abides in Christ.
After I read this book, I thought about what would be said about my life if I was the person of focus in chapter 21. From there, I started to think about what my funeral would be like. Who would be there? What my son will say during the eulogy? Below is a short excerpt of how God has marked my life to this point and maybe how my son would describe what God did in my life.
Chapter 21. Harold Dorrell Briscoe: The Humble One
To everyone who is victorious I will give some manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.
“We won’t know the name that is etched on that stone until we see the face of our maker, but if Dad had to take a guess before he passed he might have said it was ‘the humble one.’ Dad was a man who had come from a rich spiritual heritage before coming to Christ himself at age 13. His mother, father, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all followers of the Jesus.
Dad, prior to receiving Christ was known to have a bad attitude and was rather hopeless. Church on Sundays was a formal duty he resented (especially when his Dad made him wear a tie every Sunday). On a summer in night in 1999, Dad opened the book of Psalms and read of the glorious nature of God. It was on that night that Dad had a powerful encounter with Christ, realized and repented of his sins, and committed to follow Christ for the rest of his days.
Dad lived in the fear of the Lord throughout high school and college. He believed that God called him to a life of excellence and was accomplished in many areas. Success was a must in his life. Although, God does call us to live excellently here on earth. Dad in his early years began to idolize his accomplishments. Soon, life became all about padding his resume. He wanted to project an image of invincibility to the world around him. He wanted to be the best and in that striving, at times, took his gaze off the Jesus.
Dad had grown up under the delusion of self-sufficiency; because of his rich spiritual heritage, he had thought of himself as privileged and not needing to utterly yield to God on every point in his life. He was not a humble man in his early years. It was after college where a period of great disillusionment came. His parents, whose relationship he’d admired and cherished, divorced when he was in graduate school.
Couple the constant striving for success with the loss of his treasured family dynamic, Dad became inconsistent. He used to say, ‘God will humble you, but He’ll never humiliate you.’ It wasn’t until he moved to Louisiana in 2009, joined Bethany Church, and submitted to a process of radical discipleship where the Holy Spirit brought Dad to a place of absolute abandonment. During that time, God delivered Dad from destructive habits and attitudes that had plagued him for years. It was during the time on the Bayou, where God showed Dad the importance of true humility.
As time went on, the pleasures of the world lost their appeal. Life wasn’t about having the best resume, a successful career, and the most notoriety. For Dad, a successful life was a life that glorified God in all areas. Peace flooded his world. Dad’s life took on a whole new meaning as he became less concerned about his well-being and more concerned about the lives of others. He made Jesus’ mission his mission.
Dad was a man that was full of the Holy Spirit. He loved mom so much. He loved the church and I know he loved me. Similar to J. Hudson Taylor’s story, life became delightfully free and natural as he ‘abided in Christ’. As the concern for his life diminished, Jesus’ abundant life flourished in Dad’s barren soul.
Dad used to say, ‘a life sustained on the strength of mortality will always be riddled with worry, trouble, and distress. However, true humility places a constant hope in the one who is eternal. This hope leads to a fruitful life; a life that accomplishes far more than any life lived on human stamina.’
He understood that his life was just a breath compared to the Holy one. I think one of the most important lessons my dad taught me through his life was the importance of humility.”
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.