My uncle Chuck was an amazing man. I remember as a young boy being mesmerized by his motorcycle and yo-yo tricks.
I attended my uncle’s funeral Saturday. Uncle Chuck had suffered from cancer for several years and finally his body was set free. In the midst of the grieving there was a fresh relief known only to the family of believers.
During the service, I learned some interesting new facts about my uncle. For instance, as a youth, he wore a body cast for nine months due to polio. And as a young man, he served in the National Guard. He was assigned to guard duty at Little Rock Central High School during integration in 1957.
I was blown away to realize that my uncle -whom I had known all of my life- had these incredible stories that I never knew about.
And that’s when it hit me -uncle Chuck’s polio and his guard duty were not the most important things about his life. He chose, instead, to talk about more weighty issues.
It wouldn’t have taken anyone long to know that Uncle Chuck was a follower of Christ. Some of my earliest memories of him (other than the motorcycle and yo-yo) are seeing him study his Bible and his Sunday School book which always seemed to be on the table beside his favorite chair. His study was not last-minute. He was a consistent, disciplined student of the Word of God.
Even if you never saw him study, you knew that he was a man of deep conviction and faith. His character and lifestyle pointed to a Christ. The way he provided for his family and led them spiritually reflected Christ’s love for the Church.
In the midst of the funeral, as his brother was sharing a powerful eulogy, I had a sudden urge to go back in time and spend more time with Uncle Chuck. Most of all, I wished I could go back and tell him what I appreciated about him.
Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” In other words, sharing your appreciation for someone is always a good idea. It allows you to honor Christ with your words by recognizing the way they honor Christ with their life. Further, its a way to fulfill Christ’s command to “love one another” (John 13:34). And, when spoken in a Christ-like way, it is beautiful (apples of gold) and appropriate (setting of silver).
Don’t wait until the funeral to express your feeling for your loved ones. Say it now.
So, until I see you again in Heaven, I love you uncle Chuck and I praise God for your legacy. Thank you for always loving me (even when I broke your window) and treating me like your own (even on a long trip to Disney World). I have reflected deeply on your quiet, but consistent, faithfulness in the midst of suffering. Your example and influence on my son and me have made an impact for the gospel that will not fade away.