By Pastor Mark Schultz

“Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of one of His saints.”  Psalm 116:15

Saint Byron. My brother. My friend. My fellow co-worker at St. Luke Lutheran Church, died yesterday morning.

Byron and I shared the same birthday and were only one year apart in age. This precious man of God has left behind many changed lives – people who were changed by his passion for following Jesus.

I want to share with you two things…

First, the life we live here is but a prelude for our ‘real’ life into which we go when we leave this life.  Byron is experiencing that life right now! He has “entered into the joy of his Master.”  His Master has said to him: “Well done good and faithful servant.”  Those who knew Byron will agree with me when I say that I can envision Byron running around heaven with a wide-eyed sparkling joy on his face looking to discover every new thing he can; and then with each new discovery he pauses to exclaim how awesome this thing is. One wonders if for all eternity Byron will forever be seen running around heaven seeking to discover new sights and sounds. Yes, Byron is ‘home’.  I don’t know if there’s a pole-vaulting pit in heaven (one of his youthful passions), but if there, is I can see him with a pole in hand excited for another opportunity to clear ten feet.

The other point I wish to share with you is this: just as Byron allowed God to make his life count for something, so too, can you and I. Only God knows how many lives Byron touched as a life-long youth minister; but I can guarantee you the number of affected lives is high. You might say, “well sure he touched lives – he was a church-worker.  I’m not.”  Sorry, I’m not going to let you get away with that one. I don’t care who you are, how old or young you may be, what your occupation might be, what your limitations might be – you – YES, YOU – can be used by God to change, help, benefit, and lift up the lives of those around you.

So what do you say? Are you willing to be a Byron this day? Are you willing to do what must be done to put a smile on someone’s face, help them to lift up their heads, and most of all to help them find a fresh joy that comes from discovering anew that even in this life of hurt and disappointment – there is a God who loves them and wants to walk the path with them?

Please say a prayer today for Byron’s wife, Michell, as well as their children and grandchildren.

May you have confidence for this day – for God is with you!