Mr. Gary Clark passed away recently. I wept.
The man had long been a signature individual in our area. When our family moved to Mason in 1998, several people made it a point to tell me about a certain man named Gary Clark.
Actually, I heard much about Gary before I got to personally meet him. I was told that he had been one of our area’s best athletes. He got to play professional baseball. He was a long-time committed sports writer and reporter. He had an abiding interest in kids. He was a good husband and father.
But, then, I got the opportunity to meet the man for myself. I knew Gary for 17 years. I got to officiate basketball and baseball games with him. Games went easier for me simply because of the high respect that that man had from players and coaches.
For 17 football seasons, I got to stand along the football sidelines with him as he made notes to write a report about the game. He was so good to mention the names of players who made it possible for offenses to run well or for defenses to be effective.
He was endeared to the Branch family for the good things he wrote about the Branch boys. He was willing to discuss Bible issues with me. I could not help but to learn respect for Gary Clark, which is true of so many other people.
All told, Gary Clark made an impressive difference for good in the society in which we live. Lives will long reflect the goodness that was manifested by Gary Clark.
But, Gary’s life stirs a particular consideration for all of us. It starts with the penetrating question: what do people hear about you, and how are others influenced for good by what they see or hear about you? Our family visited Gary briefly on Christmas Eve. Jamin was so emotionally stirred when he saw Gary that he could only shake Gary’s hand. Micaiah was only able to verbalize brief thanks to Gary for all that he had done. Our sons appreciated the man and his service to the community.
Too many people are merely known for their vile characters, alcoholic consumption, or addictions. Those lifestyles reflect living life in a self-centered manner. What good comes from those types of lifestyles?
But, the truly great people are those who have others at heart in the things that they do. Those types of people make a difference for good in society. After all, there is too much evil in society. Why should we contribute to more evil or the sustaining of evil? It is far nobler to live for good.
Such was the New Testament lady named Tabitha. This lady was very much respected for her “good works and almsdeeds which she did,” which involved the making of “coats and garments” which she distributed to other people. She lived for good.
The prime example of being known best for doing good for the sakes of others is Jesus Christ. His others-emphasizing love for people makes Him so awe-inspiring. People have certainly heard about the good done by Jesus Christ. People have seen the good difference the Lord has made in the lives of many people.
Yet, so many disparage the good Lord. So many criticize His spiritual principles to live by that are for our good. So many reject His divine plan of salvation through His redemptive work on the Cross and His Resurrection that stand for our eternal good.
Government officials hate Him because Christians tend to depend on Him rather than on them. The social elitists hate Him because Christ mandates adherence to absolute truth rather than to socially relevant truths. Common people more and more during these days hate Him because they cannot stand conviction and opposition to personal, evil lifestyles. It absolutely does not make sense that people reject so hard the One that does the most good for people.
In the meantime, the good that people do reflects the good Lord and His goodness. Let others hear about you and know about you on that point. Uplift the Lord by it, not that other person.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.