tribute to Dan Butler

A Life Lived Well

9:20 AMHeather

Unless you have experienced a similar service, it might sounds strange to say I was encouraged and inspired by a funeral I attended. I am so glad I didn't miss that funeral. The church was packed, and the large screen showed an amazing slide show of a life lived well. There were images of Dan in Africa, in remote villages where he traveled regularly to share the love of Christ. And, similar pictures of he and his family in various Asian countries. Dan riding elephants, Dan in African dress with natives, Dan baptizing someone in an African river. To say Dan had a passion for missions would be an understatement.

Dan was a friend from church, and he served as a deacon with my husband. I can remember one of the first times I met him, at the Fall Festival, and he was dressed like a rocker. I didn't quite recognize him under that wig, but he certainly knew us. Or, the day after his daughter's wedding when he showed off pictures from the day before to any and every living soul within ear shot, proclaiming she was the most beautiful bride he'd ever seen. I remember the glowing pride and overwhelming love in his eyes.

I think I came undone after the slide show when the choirs came up for some praise and worship. You see, our church is not very diverse. But, Dan had recently begun to serve as an associate pastor in a church where he was more of the minority. To look up and around and see faces of all beautiful shades just unwound me--two congregations coming together to worship our Savior. The way the body of Christ should be.

Dan was fifty-four. He died rather suddenly from a lung disease. But, to hear stories from friends and family about his life, he lived every day as if he knew his time on earth would be too short. I cried off and on the entire time, touched by the way he brought joy and laughter to all those around him. He lived life to the fullest, seizing every opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ to all those he encountered.

I left that service changed. Because although I may hear a sermon about using our time on earth wisely, I was moved by the amazing witness of Dan Butler. When necessary, he used words. But, primarily, he lived in such a way to leave a legacy that will continue for generations. May it be said of me.

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