Well, it happened again

Pastor Thad Gifford - Contributing Columnist

I like this idea of getting older. I mean, it beats the alternative, right?

I’m ready to go, but I’m not in any hurry because I’d like to see my kids get older and see my grandkids graduate from school, go on to college, get married and start a family. I’d like to see our new worship building built and our church moving into it. (Hopefully, we will move dirt next spring and start building.) I’d like to take an Alaskan cruise, and go to Yellowstone and see some of the places in the United States I have not seen yet. I’d like to be around for my 50th class reunion.

There are a lot of things I’d like to do yet. However, age comes with some things I don’t like.

I don’t like the pain in my muscles and bones as I get older. I don’t like that my hearing is getting worse. I don’t like the health problems I am facing and not being able to do some of the things I used to do. And then, I don’t like to see my family members, friends and acquaintances pass away.

It happened again Friday, Aug. 21. A good friend of mine, Ben Tackett, passed away after a tremendous battle with cancer. He didn’t even know he had it until he wasn’t able to get rid of a nagging cough, so he went to his doctor and his doctor told him that he had cancer.

That diagnosis didn’t keep Ben down. He went about life like he had done before. I’m sure he enjoyed each day a little more than before the diagnosis, but up until the end, Ben was a fighter. About the last two months of his life, he wasn’t able to get out of bed and that aggravated him. He always liked to be active and you could see Ben walking around town on most days — getting exercise and loving life.

It was about a month ago, in his hospital bed, that Ben accepted Jesus as his Savior. That was an awesome day for both of us, because Ben then asked me if I would preach his funeral.

Wednesday, Aug. 19, Ben asked me if I could get him a couple of things. Of course. What would you like? He mentioned several items and of those items was Italian pasta salad with extra Italian dressing. Well, I searched high and low and got every item on his list except for the Italian pasta salad (with extra Italian dressing). On that item, I came up short.

I took those items to Ben and I could tell, he was disappointed that I wasn’t able to find the Italian pasta salad. But he was grateful for everything else and didn’t say a word about the salad. We visited for a while and I told him I would see him on Friday (just a few days from then) he said, “See ya later, Pastor Thad. Thanks for coming over.” And I left.

Those were the last words I heard Ben speak. He passed away Friday evening.

The good news is that at his funeral I asked who would like to receive the free gift of eternal life and explained that Ben had done that about a month ago. There were about eight people who raised their hand saying they had prayed the prayer and asked Jesus to forgive them and become their Savior. (From ashes to beauty.)

Ben has left this world, but he is not gone. He will continue to live for all eternity in Heaven with the Lord because he accepted Christ and the free gift of eternal life. One day, I will see him again. And Ben, I’ll bring that Italian pasta salad that I owe you and we’ll catch up on things.

If you are uncertain of where you are going to spend your eternity, and if you have any doubts about whether your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, please let me know, I’d be happy to talk with you.

And that is Something To Think About for this week.

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.


Pastor Thad Gifford

Contributing Columnist