Opinion – 5/30/2006

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Panolian: OPINIONS

 From the 5/30/06 issue of The Panolian :                 

Goodbye, Godspeed to faithful servant

I have been most fortunate in my life to be blessed with many good trusted friends. Friends that I could confide in. Friends to laugh with and cry with.

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I have probably taken for granted most relationships that I have had in my life. That is something I am trying to change in the present and for the future.

Several years ago I became restless with my then-current position. At about the same time Don had come out of remission from a long-term chronic illness. My mother’s health seemed to be in jeopardy as well. I decided to leave my full-time job and work part time to be able to help in family areas where I was sorely needed. The first position I applied for and took was at First Baptist Church. I had never worked in a church setting before except as a member/volunteer. I was excited to see how a "big church" operated. I was also excited to be around Christian people daily. People who started their day with group prayer and ended the day with a comforting, "Thanks and see you tomorrow."

I had no idea I would meet someone who walked so closely with the Lord. Right away, Harold Smith, the minister of music, struck me as a man of faith. I could see it in the way he handled people and situations. I could hear it in his voice and his prayers. He calmly and spiritually moved about his day attending to the Lord’s and thus the church’s work. No task was ever too large or too small. He presided over great theological discussions in the office with a twinkle in his eye and with the knowledge and discernment of a New Testament disciple.

And when I would run into a computer problem and ask him for help, he would chuckle and say, "Just right click." That seemed to always solve everything. He was a sounding board for dear Don and I when we suffered a spiritual crisis. He didn’t tell us what we wanted to hear; he told us what we needed to hear and already knew in our hearts. He prayed with us and for us. We came away stronger in our faith as a result of our sessions with him.

One day a stranger called the office and I answered the phone. Their loved one was close to death and had asked for "a preacher." The family didn’t have a home church and the wife had just picked up the phone and called the number she thought might be of help. Harold wasn’t the only staff in the office that day but he was the one I gave the call to. Within minutes I heard him ask for directions to the family’s home. He left immediately.

Later he told me that the man was indeed dying and he was able to offer him the plan of salvation. The dying man accepted and Harold left him with peace and a secure eternity. That is the way Harold is. You don’t have to be at death’s door to know that. He leaves you a better person than you were when you met him.

Besides my husband he is the most faithful man, the man with the most integrity I have ever known.

Soon he will be moving from here. He has answered God’s call to another church. They are lucky to get such a man of God as this. We who know him are lucky to say so and sad to see him go. But what greater call to answer than God’s. Goodbye and Godspeed, Harold Smith. You have made me a better person for having known you.


(Contact Sherry Hopkins at swhcsc@cableone.net)



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