My brother-in-law Bob Dunbar was a generous man. When he suddenly died the first week of February hundreds and hundreds of people gathered to mourn his passing and celebrate his life. Everyone spoke of his serving, his listening, and his generosity. Bob was a giver.
He never let me pay for coffee or lunch. When we gathered to celebrate his life and mourn his death, I discovered that I was only one of many hundreds of people that experienced his generous nature. Last week I gathered a few of the nice gifts he had given me over the years. They were useful, tasteful carefully-chosen gifts. They were quality things purchased with me in mind. They were things that Bob knew I would like because he knew me well.
Bob had an endearing habit I have often mentioned. When the bill for coffee or food would come Bob would arrange to snatch it first. When I objected he would hold up the palm of his hand and with mock seriousness he would just say say, “Please. Please. Let me get this,” then he would pay. I would look him in the eyes and sincerely say, “Thank you Bob.” He would usually say, “You are very welcome,” and you could always tell he meant it.
At his memorial service I knew he would want me to make the gospel clear. I knew he would want me to clarity that salvation is my grace through faith—a gift of God—not of works.
Walking to the pulpit an idea occurred to me that would help everyone there understand the way to eternal life—a way they each could be re-united with Bob again one day. I told the people there about Bob’s habit of saying “Please, please, let me get this,” and I said, “Jesus paid the full price for your sin and He stands with nail-scarred hands extended to us and says, “Please. Please.” Will you humble yourself and believe and receive the gift of eternal life. Bob did. You can too.” The church was packed to the balcony and overflow and everyone grew silent as I used Bob’s life and testimony to make Christ known to his friends and family.
A day or two after the memorial Linda, Bob’s wife, found a small slip of paper folded up and tucked in his wallet. At the top of the paper were the words “Personal Testimony of Bob Dunbar” In the last paragraph Bob mentioned that on September 11, 2002 he had three stents put in two arteries around his heart and concluded his testimony with these words; “This was the first time I ever faced the idea that I might not live to be an old man and watch my children grow up. Even though I did not want to leave Linda and the children I knew that if I died at that time I would go to heaven and meet Jesus!”
Bob was generous. He was a giver. But there was a time that he realized that only Jesus could pay his sin-debt and the penalty for his sin. When his heart beat it’s last in service to his family his spirit soared immediately into the presence of Jesus because, at a funeral, on Wednesday, January 19, 1983 in a little church in Winamac, Indiana, he received by faith the gift of eternal life.
Please. Please. While you still can. Receive the free gift of eternal life though Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8-9 8 says; “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
February 16, 2015