Today, while those behind morn, there is one new arrival who is rejoicing. Of course, we all rejoice, knowing that his suffering is over. But, we’re still on this side of the door while he’s gone on to the other side.
My Grandpa, the Rev. Ermal Wilson, took his last breath on this earth last night and took his breath of Heaven. He was a man who, even through his very last days prayed every day for his family. He spent his whole life serving Jesus. Starting to preach at a very young age, going to the mission field, pastoring churches, serving a the secretary for missions for the Wesleyan church and finishing his career as a traveling evangelist. There probably wasn’t a day that went by that Grandpa didn’t serve Jesus in some capacity.
I have many great memories of my Grandpa. One of my favorites being the time when He, myself and my cousin Roman tossed a football around the basement of my Uncle Paul’s church. We were all trying to trick each other to see who wouldn’t be able to anticipate the ball coming their direction. It was SO funny!
He left behind a great family who are loving Jesus, many of them serving in churches. His children followed his footsteps, and his children’s children as well. Was he perfect? By no means. He had his flaws, just as you and I. But, he was also confident the power of God and the ability of the work of the Spirit of Christ alive in Him to do miraculous things.
He was a great story teller and preacher. Gracious and grateful for all he had been privileged to do for the Kingdom, and humble enough to always give God the glory. He was happy, positive and encouraging.
He was one who decided early in his life, his household would serve the Lord:
14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:14-15)
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.(Deut 6:4-8)
And now, there is never a more fitting verse for him:
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Tim. 4:6-8)
There is much more that can be said, as those of you who knew him could testify. And some day, if we continue to trust and believe in the same God that worked miracles through His life, you’ll get to meet him and let him tell you the stories for himself.
With the passing of each generation comes the renewed responsibility for those coming after them to decide whether they will take the reigns of what has been laid before them. We each have the choice every single day to decide if we will carry on the legacy left for us. My legacy is deep and rich. Carried on by my mother, the legacy of my grandma carried on by my father. And hopefully, I carry on the legacy to another generation. If only, some day I can look back on those who have come behind me and see with such assurance the mission being carried on, I will be a very blessed man. I am already extremely blessed for what I have been given. The question is, what will I do with it? The question is true for you. What will you do with what has been given to you? Even if you have received nothing, you will certainly leave something. What will you leave?
But for now, here’s a little tease of what you might here. This is a sermon he gave at Trinity Wesleyan Church at a Revival in 1998. You’ll hear some stories, you’ll hear some teaching and some preaching. And you’ll hear some other amazing things. But most of all, you’ll hear about Jesus because that’s who He wanted everyone to know about the most.
In the words of my grandpa, “The Lord Bless you real good.”