While it is true that the 4th of July is upon us in the morning, we’re not quite there yet. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a celebration afoot. Because today, one of my dear friends celebrated the big 5-0. That’s right – half a century today, July 3rd. Now I tease Dave because I turned 60 earlier this year and he’s arriving in his fifties while I just exited that decade in my life. But he’s the kind of guy who could be my younger brother.
To know Dave is to love the guy. He is a talented musician, a Christ follower, a wonderful executive and one of the kindest men I know. A number of years ago I was fortunate to be one of the people to encourage Dave to start his own company. I know that is was scary for him in the beginning but it has turned out to be a great move for both his business and his family. His depth of knowledge and his joy for life are contagious. In fact, he is one of those guys who it is difficult to not have fun with… He’s one of those people who knows as many folks as I do – and I am pleased to call him my friend. And he has been a mentor to many people who have worked with him in the business world as well as being an ambassador to help young men who are in the fraternity system.
But it hasn’t been all a bed of roses for Dave. Several years ago he suffered a severe medical crisis that necessitated his stay in a hospital. I visited to keep him company and prayed for God’s protection and Dave’s recovery. God must have not been done with Dave on this earth – he recovered and is stronger than ever. On another note, for a number of years, Dave and his wife, Karen, have been members of our Bible study and although he travels quite a bit, I know that he is with us in spirit when he can’t join us.
The theatre and almost all the various forms of the arts are an attraction to him. He’s one of those guys who knows everything about plays on Broadway as well as who’s doing what on the local scene. And like Janet and me, he loves going out to Conner Prairie and listening to the Symphony on the Prairie series that has gone on for 32 years now. I just kind of figured that he would be there tonight – and I was right… After all, the 4th of July program is one of those special nights that those of us who have been here for a while just won’t miss.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that today David turned the age that would have allowed him to cease performing his duties if he had been a Jewish priest in the old days! That’s right – priests starting serving at the age of 30 and were expected to take their turn at the temple and conducting the various rituals until they attained the age of 50. Mind you, that doesn’t mean that they could retire – in fact, there’s no real mention of retirement in the Bible – but at the age of 50, senior priests were expected to help train the younger priests who were coning up through the ranks. Lord knows that Dave has done exactly that in his own life for years now – helping younger folks to gain experience and to be the best they can be. So regardless of the circumstance, Dave perseveres and never gives up. I’m sure that pleases the Father.
In honor of my friend Dave, the verse for tonight comes from James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” My encouragement this evening is that we could all learn a lesson from my friend who lives life large. A selfless man who honors the Lord with his life is somebody who is after God’s own heart. My prayer is that Dave will continue to add his unique value to the kingdom of God for many more years to come and that when that eventual day comes, he will stand before the Father and receive the crown that every Christ follower yearns for. Happy birthday, Dave, and may the Lord bless you and keep you. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…