This fall I lost a friend, mentor, and critic. John Robert (Bob) Kessinger was a man in every sense of the word. He was a devoted comrade who was as dependable as the rising sun to those whom he believed were devoted to the teachings of our Lord. He seemed to have a keen awareness of the dilemmas of those he knew and had many kind words to exhort his fellow comrades in the Army of the Lord. He was, for me, a source of great support while I have preached in the Kanawha Valley.
The breakfast and study meetings that are held in St. Albans were made interesting in several ways because of Bob. The breakfast at Shoney's was always pleasant because Bob would be laughing, telling humorous stories, and playing practical jokes on different people. Even when I didn't feel very good that morning, I would be hard-pressed not to have a good time as we ate together; but, when it came time to study the Bible, Bob took what was said very seriously. If someone obviously misspoke on a matter, he was kind and forgiving. If the slightest deviation from God's word was uttered, however, he stood firm to defend God's Holy word much like Paul declared in Philippians 1:17. No, our get-togethers were never dull with Bob around.
Bob Kessinger was also a critic of mine. He was never rude or sarcastic but would tell me how I could say this or that better. He would give good advice on matters of expediency where God has left decisions to our own judgment. He examined things and gave his advice from years of work and experience.
Bob spent his life spreading the Good News of Christ everywhere he went. I cannot honestly remember a time that I ever went anywhere with Bob that he did not talk about the Church to someone. I am convinced that if all Christians did the same thing today the Church would grow like it did in the first Century (Acts 8:4). No matter if he was in a hurry, he took a minute to urge someone to think about the urgency of obedience to the Gospel. Today, people refer to doing that as being a "fanatic."
The word "fanatic" is defined as, "A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause." (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language) Yet, let's consider this: how many people are football fans? A "fan" is someone who is "an ardent devotee and enthusiast." (Ibid.) If one considers the definitions of these two closely related words, the two should be switched.
Folks, telling the world about Jesus who died for our sins is not being extreme or without reason! It is doing God's things God's way! It is the most reasonable thing a person can do. If the Steelers win the Super bowl, does that make me smarter, richer, better looking, or anything else? Of course not. If I win the "crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8), I have gained everything by my devotion to the cause of Christ. This is the most sensible thing I can do.
As Bob lay in a coma after his stroke, his wife Doris (who more than once gave me Bob's lunch when I showed up unannounced and Bob was late), took time to talk to the family of Bob's first roommate about the importance of their souls and their obedience to the Will of God. She didn't spend time being angry with God, feeling sorry for herself, or other things she could have done. No, she, like Bob, spent time spreading the cure for the greatest ill of the world: sin. She wasn't too busy to evangelize. Are we? -PO Box 199, Seth, WV 25181.
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