The month of August was a time of remembrance. We remembered that Sunday was coming to an end as school started in our neck of the woods, Labor Day was fast approaching and Christmas would be on us before we knew it. But, we also remembered the birthday of a fine soldier of the Lord who had passed from this life over a year ago to be with his Savior in Heaven.
This is my tribute to a fine soldier.
Through my twenty five years of ministry I have had the privilege of working alongside some great men. Men who loved God, preached the Word of God, and served the people of God with care and compassion. If I started naming them, surely someone would be left out and if they read this column would realize it and not feel they measured up. Therefore, I will not name them all, since they are still living, but on the contrary, I will write about one who recently entered into his eternal reward.
Last week, I was called to the hospital in Montgomery to visit with a family dear to my heart. Rev. Bennie Peacock was nearing the end of his earthly life, as the family waited I had the privilege of spending time with them and visiting with a dear solider of the Lord. While spending time with his dear wife, three children, four of the six grandchildren and several other friends we sat and talked about life with Bro. Bennie.
Rev. Peacock was a pastor for fifty eight years, serving seven churches. These churches, all Alabama churches, were in: Tallapoosa, Talladega, Chilton, Randolph, Chambers, Jefferson and Shelby counties. Each of these churches were impacted by the life and ministry of a soldier of the Kingdom of God. He preached with the fervor of a man who knew the Savior and the difference He would make in the life of anyone who was open to a relationship which would last for eternity. His shepherding of the flock was no different, because he would drive countless hours, visit in numerous homes and spend as many hours as possible to reach people with the love of Jesus. He was serious about Jesus, but he was also serious about Auburn football, the Braves and his family.
In 1994 I was called to serve the Mt. Zion Church in Alexander City, Alabama. There was a great need for someone to minister to the countless senior adults who lived in our area. Since Bro. Bennie was nearing retirement and ready to move into my community, I asked him to come and serve with me as Associate Pastor and Minister to Senior Adults. He was happy to come back to a church he had successfully served and work along with me. For those few years of working shoulder to shoulder with this man I will always be grateful. But for his taking me into his heart and his family and mentoring me I will be eternally grateful.
While I think of him as a soldier, there are also a few things I can say which are not as serious. Bro. Bennie always wore a tie. Listen, I am talking long sleeve shirts or short; to a causal affair or a picnic; relaxing in his recliner or even mowing the yard he always wore a tie. Speaking of recliners, he was called to the hospital to attend to the needs of a family and seconds after he got up out the chair lightning hit the chair-he wanted a new one anyway.
When I speak of fervor in his preaching, there are a few funny things which happened during such times which Bro. Bennie was never able to hide from. One time he was preaching, yelling at the top of his lungs when his false teeth slipped out and went sailing through the air. Being the quick person he was, he reached up, grabbed them, slapped them back in his mouth and did not miss a beat. Another time he was relating his conversion experience in a revival service. He told about how he and his mother had been talking about salvation and what he had to do. One night while getting ready for a revival service at their church, a terrible storm came up. They had a cat who did not like storms, so when the lightening flashed and the thunder rolled, that cat hit the screen door wanting to come into the house, and Bro. Bennie said, “That cat literally scared the hell right out of me.”
The scripture tells us that the death of the saint of God is precious in His sight (Psalm 116:15). While we may mourn the passing of a loved one, the Lord finds it to be a wonderful event for the one who knows Him and has accepted His Son as Savior. Yes, we miss them here on this earth, but we can be with them again if we too have made that most important decision which grants us life.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 KJV) What better way than to begin real life than admitting you are a sinner and that without Jesus Christ as Savior you are hopeless and homeless? If you will believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and confess Him as Savior of your life, you will have eternal life. (Romans 10:9-13)
On Saturday, January 2, 2010 we held services for Bro. Bennie at the First Baptist Church in Alexander City, Alabama. It was great time of celebration as we reflected on the great soldier who had heard the words, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” We also laughed as we cried, thinking about all the ways he had touched our lives. But one thing was said, which I know will be said about me and I pray will be said about you. Pointing at the casket where the body lay, it was said, “What we have here is just the shell; the nut has gone home.”