I turned 50 this week. Although this is a significant birthday week for me, my friend who turned 50 a few months ago abruptly passed away a few days ago. He was so young and probably the happiest man I know. We are going to celebrate his life and remember him on Saturday. I suppose someone will say a few words that will stick in my mind to help me remember what an amazing life he had. There is already a memory fixated in my heart of a barefooted man running around the office in a pair of faded jeans and t-shirt giving fist pumps. He was a trumpet player with a heart to serve God with his financial talent and sense.
If you don’t already know who Chuck is; let me tell you that he was the (CFO) of our church and had a GREAT heart for people. He is so unique in every way. Chuck owned the honor and responsibility for building a new church building which took three years to complete. Afterwards, he was supposed to take a three-month sabbatical to rest.
As Chuck prepared for his sabbatical he was approached by many who congratulated him and thanked him for his service to God to build such a building. He had time to take a couple’s retreat with his wife and experienced one of the most gracious times they’d ever had. He was in Israel to hear his mother deliver an honored speech. Chuck was filled with joy. I suspect that it was because he answered God’s calling on his life at every intersection of his 50 years.
For the last three years he spent his time building a stage so God could be glorified, worshipped and praised. He reluctantly accepted the accolades of his work knowing that it had one purpose which was not for him.
I will always remember my last conversation with Chuck. I was asking for Chuck to approve the design of the baptism changing room in our new church. In previous conversations he was very detailed and sent me back to the drawing board to do better. On that last day before his sabbatical he just let go. He closed the folder, handed it back to me and differed the decisions to another Pastor, with confidence he said, “I’m sure whatever is decided will be fine.” With a smile he said, ‘It will be okay”.
Chuck left for Israel a few days later and while visiting the Western Wailing Wall in Israel, he died of cardiac arrest brought on by a respiratory condition. The Lord must have been happy to receive this humble man into heaven. I turned 50 this week and am inspired to make a decision to serve Jesus at every intersection in my life just as Chuck did with his. I pray that God will help me as he loves obedience more than my sacrifice.
Rest in peace my dear friend Chuck Hiatt and thank you for inspiring me to live a more purposed life for the rest of my days. Shalom