It's been about a year since we lost our beloved friends, Pastor Les Galland and his wife Jan. The shock of losing both of them within a month still stings to this day. I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on their lives.
Pastor Robert Lee shared a text during one of the funerals that has stuck with me over this past year as I remember Les and Jan.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to plug in actual names of people to a pronoun in Scripture. If we plug Les and Jan’s names into the words “your leaders” in Hebrews 13:7, we are blessed to remember and think about a real-life example of this verse being fleshed out. We are called to “imitate their faith.”
One of my favorite Twitter users is a guy who calls himself, “The Batting Stance Guy.” He posts short videos of himself imitating the baseball batting stance (how a batter stands while he waits for a pitch) of major league baseball players. The videos are funny because he exaggerates the tendencies of each batter. If Pete Rose used to squat down, The Batting Stance Guys squats a little bit further. Baseball fans like me smile, knowing the original player. If we were to “step up to the plate” of life while imitating Pastor Les and Jan, what would that look like?
While I could write more, I want to offer two ways I am seeking to imitate Pastor Les and Jan’s lives. First and foremost, they had a simple trust in Jesus and lived their lives accordingly. Being a Christian, a follower of Christ, was so vital to their existence. It was a real part of their lives. And it was the most important thing in their lives that informed everything else. Everything they cared about and promoted always came back to that central point: that Jesus is Lord and Savior, and He is Lord and Savior of my life. They wanted others to have that simple faith and trust in Jesus. They exemplified that to me by talking about and praying for others who needed to have that assurance of faith. It’s easy for me to forget the reality of everyone’s eternal destination. I’m seeking to make it a habit to pray daily for those around me who aren’t saved.
Second, they loved fellowship. I’m personally not a big “hugger” like Pastor Les was, but I am learning to dish out a few more here and there. This simple act, hugging a person as they enter the doors of church, highlighted for me the love that this ministry couple had for people. They sincerely loved to be around others and welcome them into fellowship. Anyone who remembers them will remember being warmly greeted by Les and Jan. Another aspect of fellowship that Pastor Les and Jan both thoroughly enjoyed was having meals together. There’s something about food that brings people together. This ministry couple understood that well and loved every minute of it. I recall attending the Tuesday morning Bible study a few times. Jan had prepared a smorgasbord of options to eat. It was a full-blown meal of “snacks.” A little sugar and a little spot of coffee helps the fellowship flow around the sweet nectar of God’s Word.
Imitate Les and Jan’s faith. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” When we imitate someone else, we are genuinely complementing them on a life well-lived. Certainly each person (and pastor) is different, with different strengths and weaknesses. But we can still benefit from seeking to imitate the strengths of those who have gone before us. I want to live my life in a way that others would want to imitate my faith. Have you thought about that angle to your own life?
In what ways will you imitate the faith of Pastor Les and Jan? Leave a comment. Or, better yet, ask this question around a table in the fellowship hall with a donut and coffee in hand.