A Tribute to a Man That Lives Forever

Bill Mabry

I stood at the hospital bed of a friend yesterday who is gone today. As I stood with his family and considered his terminal situation, the only words that I had were “well done.” Bill Mabry died this morning, yet he will live forever. He will live forever not only in spirit as he resides in eternity with his Savior, but he will live forever in the temporal as the evidence of his life is multiplication through others. As such, all that I could really conclude is that we all should live and finish as well as Bill Mabry did.

I have written many times about the plight of a fatherless orphan and most of my stories are inspired by interactions with people whose lives are completely off the tracks and they are facing or doing jail time. Statistically, Bill Mabry should have been one of those people. He had nothing but a stacked deck against him and he turned it into a winning hand. It wasn’t just a win for him, though, it was a legacy of winning that his children, grandchildren and literally thousands of others are enjoying the benefit of, myself included.

Bill would be the first to tell you that the secret to his success was Jesus Christ. Jesus took this life marked by an enemy for destruction and breathed life into it. That breath flowed through to others with encouragement and investment in lives that were intimately intertwined with Bill as well as casual meetings. Not everyone that Bill met came to know Jesus, but most knew about Jesus after meeting Bill.

Bill did it right . . . not perfect, but perfect isn’t the goal. “Well done, my good and faithful servant” does not in any part imply or require “perfectly done, my perfect servant.” Bill wore “well,” “good,” “faithful” and “servant” as well as any man that I have ever met. He wasn’t afraid to pour out what God entrusted to him into others. He wasn’t afraid or shy about calling out the good in everyone he met. He wasn’t afraid of having tough conversations for the benefit of another. I’m sure he wasn’t afraid of dyeing because he was never afraid of truly living.

We all need to get about the business of doing good and faithful service a little more intentionally. Not to earn anything but to multiply that which was given to us. Others need it from us and we need it to reflect, one day, and know that we have lived a life that will outlive us. We can’t be afraid of that goal as it is our design and purpose from the same Father whom commissioned Bill.

Thank you, Bill, for the words and time you invested in me. Thank you for the legacy you leave in my friend you have shaped in your son, Kevin, as well as in Richard, who called you his dad. Thank you for the investment you have made in the Fellowship of the Sword which has shaped my life in so many ways. Well done, sir.

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