I went to a funeral this week of a wonderful man who fell asleep at 90 years old. This man was a pillar, literally. Towering over most of us for most of his life, his stature was second only to his towering love for people. Kent was all about relationships and would lay down his activities to dig into yours. He would take his massive hands, envelop yours, look you straight in the eye (down into yours, actually) and ask, “How’s your life going?”
I met him when I first started working in a church. We had coffee occasionally and talked about leadership, faith, organizational integrity and many other subjects. Thinking back, I am realizing that while the conversations seemed random — topic du jour, if you will — Kent had an agenda; to make me better. He did that to everyone, come to find out.
Making others better is a core value of a great life. Pouring into others on whatever level the relationship allows is the spark plug in the engine of excellence. Too often we focus solely on our needs and want — appropriate for living, actually. Yet, we look down and in rather than up and out. Slowly, we become unaware of the presence of others or unaccustomed to conversing with them. Some call it the “Wall-E Bubble” syndrome. (If you haven’t seen the animated movie than forget that last reference).
I learned from Kent and the hundreds of people who celebrated his life that day. The great measure of a man is not in the size of his boots or the depth of his wallet. It is in the lives upon which he has a positive impression [tweet that]. That’s the Jesus-way and I, for one, am grateful to have know him.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13