Life quotes…can sometimes be life changing, mind altering for those who hear and embrace them. I have known a Kingdom Man for several years. Lovingly, his name is ‘Smokey’ John Reaves. He was in the BBQ restaurant business for years here in Dallas under the name—Smokey John’s Barbecue. Last week he went into the presence of his Lord. I can only imagine the celebration there, as I am sure it outdid the one at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Thursday. And that earthly one was incredible. The man touched so many lives for Jesus, of every age, race and financial position.
I‘ve heard him express this before, but when I attended his memorial service, someone or several quoted Smokey. It is so impactful, and completely describes his 75-year earthly sojourn. “Don’t spend your life, invest your life.” I told you it would be impactful. Dig into that. Recently, I have memorized the Heidelberg Catechism. The very last line says—“And He makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from this time on to live for Him.” Smokey, you nailed the purpose of life. Not to simply live this time out, but to invest our time, talent and treasures for the Kingdom. Deferred gratification of the highest order!
We heard so many stories of how Smokey mentored, prayed, discipled, shared the gospel, helped, loved them. And it only touched the surface of his servant leadership. He invested in his marriage, his children, grandchildren and family, in friends, strangers; whoever needed his passion for Jesus. Dads, the testimony of his children and grandchildren would give you chills. As we say in our Fathering 101 curriculum: “What do you want your children and grandchildren to say at your funeral?” I’m sure Smokey was pleased.
Why did this happen? Because Smokey didn’t just spend his life, he invested it for the Kingdom and he left a legacy within his family, and many others, that will resound for several generations to come. Paul poured his life into Timothy and Titus and countless others in the early church. He said in I Corinthians 9.19 ESV: “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant of all, that I might win more of them.” That is, to win more to the gospel. He goes on to say: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you might attain it” (I Cor. 9.24 ESV).
Living out The Gospel
Paul and men like Smokey are our earthly role models. The Spirit gripped their heart and mind and they responded in obedience to the calling. I have no doubt that Smokey was called, and he responded. What joy must have flooded his soul along the way. He took Jesus’ promise to heart. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (Jn. 15.9-11 ESV).
Dads, I want to ask you one question. Are you investing your life in your wife and children and your grandchildren for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ? If yes, awesome! If not, why not? It’s never too early or late. Smokey would tell you; there is no time like today. The Spirit is willing, are you? Besides what you want your family to say at your funeral, live totally for the indescribable joy of hearing your Savior say: “Well done”. Smokey did—so can you!