Last week I received an unexpected call from my cousin informing me that my Uncle O.C. who lived in Louisiana had passed away. It was an honor and privilege for me to be asked to open and share at his funeral service. The “preacher” who followed me was my uncle, Reverend Huey Haymon, who is still pastoring a church an preaching at the age of 87 years old.
My spiritual roots are planted deep in the soil of my mom’s southern heritage, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to work alongside my Uncle Huey. It’s something I’ve always desired to do and though it wasn’t the ideal situation, over the years there are three things this man of God has taught me.
- Be There – In a day when pastoral ministry and the duties that accompany the role are becoming less popular, Uncle Huey’s long tenure in ministry reflects the life of a true shepherd. I’ve been to several weddings, funerals, family members undergoing surgeries and other affairs when I’ve visited and there’s a common thread in all of these life events – Uncle Huey has always been there! Through thick and thin Uncle Huey has this amazing quality of being ever-present. Some would say pastors need to delegate their pastoral responsibilities so they can do the more important things leadership requires, but my Uncle Huey has led by doing his pastoral responsibilities well.
- Be Clear – After the choir sang a few hymns my Uncle Huey made his way to the pulpit and talked about our “next step” after this life. It was a simple but clear presentation of the Gospel and make no mistake about it, after he was done, everyone in the room knew we all have a future appointment with God and that we need to be prepared. It was a hard hitting message, spoken in a light hearted way, to many heavy hearts in the room. His clarity brought a peace and calmness in the room. He didn’t preach fear, yet he was clear.
- Be a Servant – I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of holding people hostage with our sermons. I know I have I have, but at least this particular time my Uncle Huey kept things brief. I’ve been to several weddings and funerals where the pastor used “the opportunity” to preach rather than using the opportunity to serve. My Uncle Huey has always been a servant first. He has lived a life of decrease so that Christ may increase. He was facilitator of what God was doing during my Uncle O.C.’s funeral service and because of that my family and those who attended were served well.
Thank you Uncle Huey for living a life worthy of your calling and pastoring the way you do. You are an inspiration to me.