In the landmark eulogy for her father, Ella Wheeler Wilcox immortalised these words:
“He never made a fortune, or a noise
In the world where men are seeking after fame;
But he had a healthy brood of girls and boys
Who loved the very ground on which he trod.
They thought him just little short of God;
Oh you should have heard the way they said his name – ‘Father.’
I borrow Ella’s words today because she captures succinctly, the key themes in my tribute for my Father. Anyone who knew my Dad would associate him with these words: Present, Caring, Selfless, Devoted and of course, Intelligent. These words taken together, describe what I call Christian, and they sum up my father’s legacy.
My father was a Christian in every sense of the word. So today, I will not speak of his physical contributions to the world.
His achievements were neither begetting children & owning a home, nor enjoying a successful career. His primary attainment was embodying the virtues of his saviour, Jesus Christ.
As you read this, please pause for a moment to ask yourself:
Am I PRESENT in moments when others need me? Do I set aside competing urgencies and personal issues to listen and be there?
Am I CARING? Would I leave the safety of my home at midnight, to drive a sick friend to the hospital in an emergency? Does the possibility even cross my mind?
Am I SELFLESS? Do I allow others to take advantage of opportunities before me? Do I patiently wait at four-way junctions, to allow others to go ahead, even when it makes me look like a “mugu”?
Am I DEVOTED to family or cause? What comes first – the desire to “hammer” or the passion to make an impact?
Finally, am I INTELLIGENT? Do I speak for God with clarity; rightly dividing the word of truth in wisdom? Or, do I promote obfuscating doctrines that condemn and divide?
If in some small way, my father’s life inspires you to any of these virtues, then his legacy is complete.
As I read my Dad’s eulogy today, he stands in the hallowed halls of Heaven and this is the scene that is currently being played out. I invite you to imagine it.
“Then the King said to him, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”
Then Hubert Adeyemi Plumptre will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did I see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did I see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did I see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”
And the King will answer and say to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, Hubert Adeyemi Plumptre, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
Rest well, Dad.