Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I believe that the first person I met upon my arrival at Towerview Baptist Church (other than the pastor search committee) was Bill. Actually, if you do not count my wife, Bill is the first person I meet at church every Sunday morning and every Wednesday night. That is because he takes the responsibility of "Chief Greeter and All Around Nice Guy" very seriously. It is nearly impossible to enter the front doors of our church without being greeted by Bill and handed either a Sunday morning worship bulletin or a Wednesday evening prayer list. And they both come with a complimentary hand-shake.

You cannot help but love Bill.

Unfortunately, he has not been well for some time. The last year has not been good to him. Bill has been fighting a nasty battle with cancer. And if you look at things from a purely worldly standpoint, he is losing. Quickly. Like maybe this week.

Today I walked up to Bills front door and put out my hand to ring the doorbell. I had not visited with Bill since last Thursday. On that bright, sunny, tornado-less day (that matters around St. Louis this year) he was feeling quite well. I found him sitting in his recliner. His sister was visiting from the Lake of the Ozarks. We had a nice visit and I gave Bill a book. "One Minute After You Die." It was authored by Irwin Lutzer and I strongly recommend that you read it while you still have the chance. Then I shared a moment of prayer with my friend and excused myself to continue my day. But that was Thursday and this was Wednesday. Bill's health had plunged rapidly since that time. The end is drawing near. And I came to see if maybe he needed to talk. As I put my hand out, finger pointed toward the doorbell button, all of my physical and mental processes ground to a halt. I don't know how to explain it. I have paid many visits to many dying men and women over 3.5 decades of pastoring. But today, before I could push that button a thought rushed through my brain with all of the intensity of General Sherman's burning of Atlanta.

I was about to speak to a man who within a couple of days would very likely be speaking face to face with Jesus Christ. THE Jesus Christ. The creator and Lord of creation. The gentleman I was about to address, perhaps give advice to, certainly pray with, would listen to me today without a doubt. What I said he would take as the gospel truth. However, by the next time we have a Wednesday roll around every word I was about to speak would be proven true or false by almighty God Himself. I will be Bill's "under-shepherd" for a matter of a remaining few hours. And then he would report directly to The True Shepherd. The Alpha and Omega. He will be seeing the nail scars and the marks left from a crown of thorns. But right now he was my responsibility. And when he stops being my responsibility he will be the direct responsibility of ... The Son of God.

I cannot begin to tell you what that did to my heart. I realized in a very fresh and new way the gravity of the assignment that God has bestowed upon me. My greatest fear is to fail in that assignment. My greatest honor is in having it bestowed upon me in the first place. And tonight it feels like the weight of the universe is resting on my shoulders. It is the most intimidating thing I have ever felt.

I am not worthy.

And I cannot think of one other word to say.


Gregg said...

"Do not worry, about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you" -Matthew 10:19-20

jeffy777 said...

I am crying right now. The best friend I have had in this world other than God above, and Jeanne my wife was my friend Bill Cozad. He died 18 years ago. Everything about your Bill and mine seem similar including you interaction with him was similar to my interaction with my friend Bill. The Lord is good to us that he has built such people into our lives. Praise the Lord. And thank you Bill(s) for being the mighty men of valor we love and respect.