Most of you knew Ronnie Brown, a long-time Atmore resident and member of and fixture at Atmore Country Club, who passed away from lung cancer yesterday.
Years ago, I had stopped by his wife Sharon’s pawn shop here in town and invited Ronnie to church. He shared with me then that he was raised in the Assembly of God Church. And interestingly, though we did not see Ronnie here, Sharon and her sister did attend worship a few times. More recently, Ronnie got involved at Cross Point Baptist Church, and from what I understand, he enjoyed being there and gave God all the glory, even in the midst of a terminal illness.
This past Sunday, I decided to follow up with Ronnie and see how he was doing. I had a good visit with him, Sharon, and their daughter at their home here in Atmore. Ronnie was in a hospital bed and not very responsive, but I know he heard me when I read from my pocket Gideon’s Bible Romans 8:38-39 in the King James, “38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Billy Graham in his devotional booklet Hope for Each Day, Words of Wisdom and Faith, shares the story of another clergyman who sat by the bedside of a dying Christian who had been very shy about his testimony for Christ during his life. The dying man said, “If I had the power I’d shout glory to God.” The pastor answered, “It’s a pity you didn’t shout glory when you had the power.”
I wonder how many of us will look back over a lifetime of wasted opportunities and anemic witness, and weep because we did not allow God to use us as he wanted. As we read in the Gospel of John 9:4, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.”
Graham continues, “If ever we are to study the Scriptures, if ever we are to spend time in prayer, if ever we are to win souls for Christ, if ever we are to invest our finances for His kingdom – it must be now.” And I would add the challenge of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
How will you respond? Give God all the glory while you can and share the Gospel every chance you get!