Mike’s Musings …
Just more than eight years ago, it was our privilege and the reception of a great blessing to begin working with you brethren at Orleans. During those “transition months” between Bloomington and here, you brethren had scheduled a gospel meeting with brother PAUL EARNHART doing the speaking. I had never met him but had heard of him and read several of his fine articles. I was eager to meet him and sit at his feet as he presented the gospel of Jesus Christ. None that heard him was disappointed with his knowledge, application, or presentation of God’s truth!
I remember he drove back and forth from Louisville each night of that gospel meeting. He told me he didn’t mind the drive at all as it afforded him time to think through his lesson on the way to Orleans and to reflect on it as he returned home. He was the epitome of graciousness in his mannerisms, gentle in his speaking, and without compromise in his handling of God’s word.
Brother Earnhart departed this life last Thursday night, December 6. In a note from brother Mark McCrary, I learned brother Earnhart had been in failing health, had lost his hearing, and therefore could no longer teach a public bible study, and had reduced his preaching time considerably. However, he never diminished his knowledge and love for the Truth, nor his willingness to share it as he had the opportunity. Indeed, he shall be missed!
Another memory I have of brother Earnhart is when another brother and I attended a gospel meeting in Madison, IN. Paul’s good friend and fellow laborer in the kingdom, Dee Bowman was preaching, and brother Earnhart was in attendance. As I was about to reintroduce myself to brother Earnhart, he quickly reached forth his hand and said, “Brother Davis, it’s good to see you again. How are the brethren at Orleans?” What a great memory! I was honored!
As it was with brother Earnhart, so it is with all of us. Some will esteem us highly in love for our work’s sake while others will criticize us for a variety of reasons. But through it all, the only one we need to please is our Father in heaven. I muse on how well these old soldiers of the cross proved that truth by their words and deeds. While thousands of words can and perhaps will be written in both praise and critique of our lives, only God’s assessment of our labors is worth anything at all! (2 Corinthians 5:5 – 10). Many of us have been blessed to have known, loved, and learned from some of the bravest within the kingdom of God. But their accountability is as our own: we shall stand before our Judge individually (ibid.) May it be that when our summons comes to call, it is well with our souls, and we can indeed rest from our labors, knowing our works follow us. Indeed, may heaven be our eternity because we served Him and not ourselves in this time world!