Yesterday. A very dear man, a very dear friend slipped from this world to the next to receive his reward. I am quite sure as he was caught up in the “Meeting in the Air”, he heard the words “welcome my good and faithful servant” from his Lord. As he stepped into the presence of Almighty God and his Savior Jesus, the words welcome home “friend” and “my child” were there to greet him. When he walked through the pearly gates he was met by the saints who had gone on before him.

I had not come to know this dear friend very long, or at least not in the usual way we measure time in years. I can say that as he unfolded his life in story to me I felt like I had known him all his life. He was a devoted and adoring husband to one. He was a loving and kind father, modeling the Heavenly Father, to his children. He was a wise, discerning mentor to his children and their children. He was a friend to all that took the opportunity to know him. He was a musician by heart, well accomplished in a variety of instruments. He was a teacher by passion, willing to instruct others in their pursuit of musical ability. He was a faithful disciple of his Lord Jesus Christ, continually striving to be more “Christ- like” in all walks of his life whether in work, play, or just everyday life. I knew him as a dear friend and the “leader of the band”.

In our life’s journey we are fortunate and blessed if we are given the occasion to meet and know one known as a “leader”. I had this opportunity with him. Each time we were together I felt loved and welcomed. I began to understand the qualities that make a servant- leader as I sat and listened to him reveal the wisdom he had experienced in his life. If there is a recurring scripture that examplified what I learned from my friend, it is found in Romans Chapter 12. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

I saw in my friend the charisteristics that make a servant- leader. In his story I see what each of us that knew him should strive also to obtain in our own story. He first made a choice. To follow Christ and have his mind renewed. His transformation was driven by a steadfast commitment to the new life he had been given. His integrity was founded by his accountability and transparency in everyday life. He grew to understand God’s will for his life and he was unwilling to compromise from the truth. His compassion for others led him to give and serve more than he took. His passion for Christ fueled his lifetime desire to glorify God in music and song. In his music he found more than happiness which is a state of mind, he found joy which is a matter of the transformed heart. He was the leader of the band, a leader in life, showing the way to Christ.

My dear friend began receiving his eternal reward yesterday. The world may not have recognized and rewarded him as he was due for his gift, talent, and passion. Those of us blessed enough to have known him understood as he did that his greatest reward was waiting till yesterday. His reward will continue throughout eternity. I miss him today. I will see him again. He was and is the “leader of the band”.

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