We buried my father just two weeks ago after battling lung cancer, dementia, and finally, pnemonia. He had battled alcoholism in early adulthood, but experienced life transformation after accepting Christ as his Savior and Lord. Following his conversion, my father (who I affectionately called Dave) lived his life on mission, declaring to everyone he met the change Christ had made in him. He told neighbors, family members, prisoners, co-workers and people in the mall. He was not confrontational or aggressive in his approach to telling others. He was however, conversational, unapologetic, genuine and bold when it came to telling his story and sharing scripture with those he encountered. I don’t think there was anyone who met my father that didn’t know he was a Christian. He wanted everyone to know that without Christ, we are destined for eternity in hell.
My father use to spend his weekends leading lay revivals throughout the region, telling his story and leading others to faith in Christ. One experience he had on a lay revival explains why “Go Tell it On the Mountain” was his favorite song. Not just at Christmas, but all year long! He and a couple of others had spent Saturday morning visiting people in the mountains of east Tennessee. Upon request, Dave climbed up a holler to witness to a man who had heard the gospel many times before, but remained lost and unchanged. My father shared his story with the man and with permission, read scripture and explained the plan of salvation. It was on that day that the Lord chose to save the man my father had climbed the mountain to visit. Dave came down off the mountain that day repeating the words to the hymn, “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!” From that day forward , it became his favorite song. He wasn’t a singer and I don’t recall ever hearing him sing. But everyone knew that “Go Tell It On the Mountain” was his favorite song, and why.
Hours before his death, my father was heard singing and humming the tune to “Go Tell It On the Mountain”. Even one of his nurses asked if that was “Go Tell It On the Mountain” that he was singing. My father told everyone that Christ was born, lived, died and rose again. He lived his life on mission with a passion for telling others the good news of Jesus Christ. There will be many people in heaven because he faithfully lived his life on mission, sharing Christ with everyone.
Dave left a legacy and challenge – to tell everyone I meet what Christ has done for me … and for them. That’s what it means to live our life on mission.