For whom the clock tolls

What reminds you of the goodness of God?

(Yes, this is the actual clock)

The grandfather clock in our dining room sounds its Westminster chime every fifteen minutes (unless I forget to wind it).  I’ve heard it eight times this morning since I got up and started my morning with a double espresso, a cup coffee, a protein bar, my rocking chair, my Bible, and the God who made it all possible.

This morning, I am especially thankful for that clock.  I had planned to write something different this week, but the consistent chimes called me to remember the goodness of God and His gifts to His beloved children.

That grandfather clock was a gift, almost 10 years ago, from a dear friend, mentor, and hero. If I shared all my memories of Tom, I could write a book.  I was his pastor for 17 years, but most importantly, he has been my friend for over 30.

He was my right arm for many years in taking care of church facilities and business so I could focus on people.  He supported me and encouraged me.  He was “thrifty” with the church’s resources, but generous with his own.

We laughed together, prayed together, cooked the monthly men’s breakfast together, and ate Mexican food together.

He was a surrogate grandfather to my favorite son.  When the boy was in elementary school and his grandparents lived too far away to attend all his activities, Mr. Tom stepped in.  Nothing could have increased my admiration for him any more than to see the way he loved my son.

His dear wife, Jan, started our Wednesday night supper ministry.  When our rotation of volunteer cooks wasn’t working out, she told me she would cook every week as long as she didn’t have to clean up afterward.  The dishwashing rotation worked out and our attendance for Wednesday evening activities tripled within a few months.  Tom was her “assistant.”

When she passed away, Tom grieved deeply and kept pressing on, serving the Lord through his church, following the Texas Rangers, and being the kind of friend and neighbor everyone wants to have.

It wasn’t long after Jan’s passing that he was in our home.  In conversation with Mrs. Sweetie, a grandfather clock was mentioned in passing.  A couple of days later, he showed up with a grandfather clock.  It has been marking time and reminding us of the blessing of friendship for almost a decade.

A few days ago, Tom beat cancer.  Now, some will say cancer got him, but nothing could be further from the truth.  You see, cancer’s power is limited.  It can be devastating for awhile, but only for a while.

Because Tom was a follower of Jesus, he is now reunited with Jan in a place of indescribable beauty, health, and peace in the presence of Jesus Himself.  Cancer is finished!

When his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, and neighbors think about him, they won’t think of the way he died.  They will think of the way he lived and loved for 85 years.

When our grandfather clock chimes, cancer won’t come to mind for me at all.  I can only be grateful that I had a friend whose memory will always serve as a reminder of how our lives matter to God.

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