Some thoughts about my friend
In my fathers house are many mansions. If it were not so I
would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a
place for you I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am you
may be also. John 14:1-3.
What a pleasant thought that is! Room for us all -– many
mansions. Our friend has gone ahead to meet his saviour face to face at last.
And -– so many others will get their mansions too, because he bothered to tell
them how to get saved and made the salvation of their souls one of his aims.
There are certain people who teach there are no heavenly
mansions to go to, but fortunately we have our Masters faithful word, "if it
were not so, I would have told you." Thank God it is so! Jesus
has prepared a place and will receive us personally to himself when he returns.
Barry was faithful to preach the imminent return of Christ and to urge people to
get ready while there is still the chance to do so. "I will come again" is a
promise that will be kept, and wonderful as Heaven will be the best thing about
it is the presence of the Master himself, there. "Receive you to Myself...where
I am there you will be." No longer to be alone but to dwell in his
Presence. Home to be with the Lord!
At Barry's funeral I pointed out that I had met hundreds of
preachers and yet only a few were genuinely kind. Barry was one who was kind.
He cared about what happened to people not just the success of his projects.
Many people testified how he had contacted them in their hour of need and
encouraged them, others spoke of the hospitality and love they enjoyed. Others
told how Barry had got on a plane to especially come and encourage them. This is
the practical work of a faith that is not dead. Many profess love, only a few
have the actions that go with it.
Many, many people either became Christians or were encouraged
to continue continuing on for God because of this man sowing seeds in their
lives, and the harvest continues on. The tapes and books still go out, "he
being dead yet speaketh." Seldom have I seen such enduring fruit. Many times
in my travels I met folk who told me they came to the Lord through Barry "last
year," "sixteen years ago," "thirty years ago," and many have gone on
to lead others.
As Paul wrote to Timothy, "these things you learned from me
among many who witnessed, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach
others so that they may also learn." Barry lived this out. As I think back
over his years of work I am amazed at the great effect one life can have on so
many, what a great influence for good. Now he has gone but the fruit remains.
Others now live for God and have their moments of influence.
We are always and forever sowing seeds. Seeds that can have a good or evil
harvest. Barry sowed wisely and well for many years, and many are grateful to
God for him. Now his time is up, but the work continues.... until the Lord comes
to take us home.