As I write this blog, one of the most important people in my life is being buried. Woody Woodson, who served as an elder in Crockett during my first full-time ministry, passed away this week. He was 89. When I saw him in November, he was still chiseled -- with muscles hard from working on his farm. He was really a country boy at heart, even though he had worked in Houston for most of his life.
Due to it being the holiday season as well as some other activities going on this week in Crockett, I only found out last night that he had passed away. The service was this morning at 10. I SO regret not being there.
Woody was a perfect elder for someone with no experience in preaching. I think back to my preaching of over 20 years ago and wonder why he and others even hired me. But he did.
He was one of the most consistent and steady men of faith I have ever known. I buried his daughter, who lost her life to breast cancer, and observed his steadfastness through that ordeal. I saw the way he loved people. I learned from the way he based his core beliefs around Jesus -- rather than human reasoning. I tear up even now as I think back to hearing this godly man pray. Whenever he spoke of Jesus in his prayers, he would begin to break up.
I remember not long after I had begun preaching in Crockett (1988), I asked him one day if I should keep a log as to my use of time. He looked at me, and said, "If we need you to do that, we have the wrong man." Believe it or not, that actually made me MORE aware of how I used my time.
We made many visits together, and I got to watch shepherding in action. Many lessons learned. But for me, most of all I will always be grateful that he offered me an opportunity to become a full-time minister.
His precious wife, Louise, is in my prayers. I love her and her family SO much, and wish I could be there today with them. Maybe next time I'm in Crockett, I will give her a heads-up. This woman can fix dumplings like nobody's business!
Thank you, God, for letting me know Woody and Louise Woodson. And thank you that this man who loved you so much is now at home.