Enjoying the Journey
There are a few men who are admired by believers of all backgrounds. These are special men. Men who make an impact far outside their immediate realm of influence.
They are the encouragers.
People who do not agree on many things often agree that these men helped them along the journey. Preachers and churches of varying sizes and circles of fellowship all want to lay claim on such men. When they are gone they are missed by everyone who was blessed to cross their path.
For sure, God gives every man a different kind of ministry. Some men, like the Old Testament prophets, are called on to wound. Others are called on to heal. Some are notable for their pulpit ministry, while others are known for their private counsel. Every man is gifted differently and every gift is important to the body.
Yet there is a spirit that supersedes every gift. It is what Paul called “a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31) and “the greatest of these” (1 Corinthians 13:13). It is the way of love. And it is the one thing that marks the life and labor of the encourager.
Bobby Roberson was an encourager. Those who saw him from afar called him Dr. Roberson. My pastor said that he was the greatest pastor he ever knew. In the end, the man who wanted to be known simply as “Brother Bobby” was an encourager. An encourager of the greatest kind. We all loved him because he was full of the love of God!
He encouraged his own family. He encouraged the people of his church for more than 60 years. He encouraged preachers in churches of all sizes across our country. He encouraged me.
I had the opportunity to preach for Brother Bobby just a few weeks before his precious wife, Mrs. Jackie went to heaven. As we sat on the front row of the Gospel Light Baptist Church together she made it a point to encourage me. Some time after I had the privilege of writing a letter to honor Brother Bobby. At the end of the letter I put these words: “Mrs. Jackie’s encouragement to me when I was with you all at Gospel Light this summer was a special gift. Her influence continues in my heart.” He is now with his faithful wife and, like her, his influence continues in my heart.
This good man’s encouragement had a far reach and it will have an even longer impact. Encouragers live on. In the hearts of those they encouraged. In the lives of many who never even met them. In eternity.
Brother Bobby reminded me in many ways of a modern day Barnabas: “a son of consolation.” When I think of him I think of His Father. He reflected His image well. Loving. Forgiving. Generous. Comforting. Kind. An encourager.
People always remember a Barnabas. And we will always remember Brother Bobby. May God multiply his kind in the earth. Only Heaven will reveal the power of such encouragement.