Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tribute to a Faithful Servant

Bob Aumueller met Christ at a Billy Graham crusade meeting in New York City in 1958. He became active in Christian causes focusing on the local church and extending to other evangelism outreaches. He was a tall man at 6’ 4”, and his presence in a room never went unnoticed. He sank very fast from a towering, healthy man into a withered shell, wracked by physical problems, weary of mind and longing for Heaven—a wish granted on May 9.

He and his faithful wife, Arlene, were reliable friends and constant supporters of the Lord’s work. He served on the board of our ministry, Dedication Evangelism, for 29 years.

Bob worked as a civilian with the US Army, but as I read Bob’s obituary, I learned things about his work that I never knew before. He served his country in top secret projects, but he never talked about these, both because they were so secret and also because his humility forbade pompous self-praise. One of the pictures shown at the viewing and at the luncheon following the funeral showed Bob standing in front of a huge military jet with several men, including Dick Cheney, who later became Vice President of the United States.

After retiring from the Army corps of engineers, Bob refused the well-earned relaxation and became associate pastor of his local church. There were special remembrances along the way which encouraged my enthusiasm and reflected a generous spirit of love and concern. I miss him so much and I know his family and church miss him more.

Arlene graciously requested that I say a few words of remembrance at Bob’s funeral where I shared that Bob was a multi-dimensional man. His physical height was obvious and he also stood tall for Christ. His spiritual depth was evident as a student of God’s Word, and his spiritual breadth reached out into Christian ministry.

A man once told me that skeptics of Christianity should come to our funerals for there they would really find out what Christianity is all about. This was true at Bob’s funeral.

As we sang “The Old Rugged Cross,” Arlene played a fabulous piano accompaniment. Bob’s pastor gave a moving tribute to his faith and faithfulness. He presented the Gospel as Bob had received it and gave a direct invitation to those attending to receive Christ if that most important of all life’s decisions was unmade yet.

After I spoke, a family friend shared both humorous and sobering anecdotes from Bob’s life. The open testimony time was stirring beyond words. One testimonial will forever live in my mind: “I’m a military man, and what Bob worked on in research probably saved my life in combat.” Then a teenaged young man stood and said, “I want to serve the Lord just like Bob.”

They said it all. Life is about serving others and even saving the lives of fellow human beings, but, beyond that, sharing the Gospel of Christ is a superior calling, and its effects live on.

I closed my part of Bob’s eulogy by quoting the famed evangelist Dwight L. Moody who, when told he was going to his Heavenly reward, said, “No, the records aren’t all in yet.” Of godly Abel, Hebrews 11:4 says, “By faith [he] offered to God a more excellent sacrifice…through which he obtained witness that he was righteous…; and through it he being dead still speaks.” Bob’s family graciously named our ministry as a recipient of memorial gifts. These are being received and invested in Gospel outreach, and so Bob’s interest in and concern for the Lord’s work continues even after his passing from earth to Heaven.

“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on”’ ‘Yes’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” (Revelation 14:13)

Thanks, Bob. Your spiritual investments live on.

Dave Virkler

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