“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
— Philippians 1:21 (KJV)
Yesterday we attended the funeral services for Charlotte’s Uncle Marvin Baker. He passed away Monday at the age of 94. Marvin was one of those small handful of people one meets in life who leaves an indelible impression. He was a minister in the Church of God for forty-four years, served on the Board of Trustees at Anderson University for thirty years and held other leadership positions in several national, state and community groups. But what made him stand out to me and to everyone else who met him was simply the person that he was. I first met Marvin in the mid-70s. From that first meeting back then to the last time we talked several weeks ago he never changed. He was always gracious and humble, empathetic and always wanting to help. It was easy to realize the depth of the good character that he possessed. Throughout the funeral service we heard about Marvin as a Godly pastor, a mentor, a teacher and as a good friend. I truly feel blessed that I could count him as friend.
The quoted verse summarizes the book of Philippians. Written by the Apostle Paul while in jail in Rome, he expounds on the joy and abundant life of living for Christ. A casual observer might see this as a great contradiction but Paul accepted the difficulties of Christian ministry. Paul did not allow the belligerent and deadly environment of the Roman Empire to interfere with his calling. Paul’s faith in God’s leading molded his vision and that vision overshadowed the obstacles that he faced. Marvin reminds me very much of Paul. Marvin through his ministry as a pastor undoubtedly dealt with many people and their problems within a world that does not hold the Christian faith in high regard. Through all that however he maintained his positive attitude and calming demeanor. Marvin always held to his calling with God as his driver. Anyone he met he treated as a friend and always set a high bar as a role model for Christian living. We will miss him for now but rest in the promise that we will meet up with Marvin again someday soon.