Periodically we all get
reminders how mortal we all are - how temporary life on this planet
is - and what is really important for the few years we live here before
We were once again reminded of this when
informed of the death of a dear friend of ours a couple of years
back who was a husband - a father - and a pastor. Tom Rietveld was
riding his Harley motorcycle in Bishop, California, at the posted 55
mph when a woman driving her car at 90-plus mph came roaring up behind
him and smashed into him. She sped off but fortunately was later caught
and arrested. She was an illegal immigrant. If she was not
in our country she wouldn't have killed him. Seconds after
being hit Tom was in the presence of the Lord. He left behind his wife,
Diane, plus a daughter, other family members, friends, and the
parishioners of Calvary Baptist Church. Why he was taken to heaven at
this time and in this manner, only the Lord knows. As the years pass by
possibly many will understand those answers as God chooses to reveal
it, but upon hearing of Tom's ‘graduation' we got to thinking in two
Take Each Other For Granted
The statement of "tomorrow
may never come" is true. None of us know if we'll be alive tomorrow
so each today we focus on those little things with each other, like - I
love you - please forgive me - speaking in a kind and loving voice to
each other - and praying not only
for each other but
with each other. We are also cognizant of how we say
good-bye to each other. The two of us never leave angry even
if it means running down the driveway to stop the car pulling out of
the garage to make sure all anger is gone prior to the exiting (Yvonne
has done this before). We always do three things when we say good-bye -
We kiss each other - exchange I love you's - and extend a spiritual
comment such as "God bless you" or "May the Lord be with you." Should
something occur where we wouldn't ever again see the other on this
earth, we can live the rest of our lives knowing those were the last
three exchanges we shared. That's why we no longer take each other for
granted. Sadly in the early years of our marriage we did. No more.
Legacy Are You Leaving?
Our second thought was a
question we've asked ourselves and would ask anyone. "What kind of
legacy are you wanting to leave?"
Tom's legacy? It is vast.
Here is a small sample -- as a minister he never compromised God's
Word. It wasn't watered-down. Anyone who heard him preach will remember
him speaking truthfully, lovingly and with great encouragement. Yvonne
especially appreciated his biblical knowledge, and his patience with
her when she would ask him theological questions. His legacy includes
the wisdom he imparted to those he counseled with. He left a wife he
loved and a daughter he and Diane guided into being a Godly woman, who
herself is now a wife and mother. Bob will never forget
when Tom rode his motorcycle over 100 miles to surprise both of us at
Bob's mother's memorial service. He just 'wanted to be there' to give
his support and prayers for this occasion. It's THAT kind of love and
thoughtfulness that is a small part of Tom's legacy. Those are just
some of the ways he will be remembered.
One of the astronauts who perished
onboard the Columbia was Rick Husband. Rick's wife said on a TV
interview following his death, "My husband's legacy is that he was a
man of faith." A man of faith! What a superb legacy to leave behind. He
proved it on many occasions, but none so striking as when we all found
out that prior to going up into space he videotaped daily devotions for
his two children, so that each day, since he wasn't in the house, they
would still have dad leading devotions. May that information inspire
every father reading this.
What about you? Are you living a
positive legacy filled life now? None of us can work on it when we're
gone. Only now while we're living. God has placed you at this
particular time in history within a particular country and within a
particular marriage and within a particular family for a reason. How
are you impacting them for Christ our Lord? What you are doing
now will be your legacy!
This would be an appropriate time to
inform you of an excellent publication titled - The Next 48 Hours. It authored
by one of Bob's former staff members when he headed up the Waikiki
Beach Chaplaincy ministry in Honolulu he founded several years ago.
This publication helps in the preparation of a family members impending
death as well as someone who dies suddenly and unexpectedly. It was of
immense assistance to us when Bob knew his mother's death was
approaching due to her illness. It is very thorough and greatly guided
us in proper preparation for that inevitable day. We won't go into
details here as the website will be informative, and that website is - www.mylifeinabox.com.
In closing, once again we encourage you
to pray and ask the Lord to give you wisdom that if you were to die
tomorrow, if the legacy you'd be leaving is honoring to Him. Thank you.