We take notice when great people have died. Those who’ve aspired to positions of power and influence, who’ve impacted many with their presence. When good leaders pass away, we mourn nationally; we’ve lost someone we might never have agreed with or appreciated in life. Death reminds us of what is gone.
What happens when a faithful number two dies? When someone hasn’t pursued fame or strived for recognition but has shone the spotlight on others?
He is missed even more for being a true servant leader.
My friend Dave Horsey, who died in December, was memorialized recently before a large room of family, friends, co-workers, and people he’d impacted in life. He was a man who gave himself to his ministry, who had a deep love for God, His Word, and his family. Stories were shared of his generous heart, his courageous kindness, his orderly approach to life and work. He was a collector of many things, from stamps to military badges. But what he was best at was collecting people. Those who needed him, those he encouraged, mentored and loved.
John and I met Dave and his wife Karen when our oldest went to Taylor University and became part of the soccer team. Dave and Karen’s son, Jonathan, played on the men’s team. Soccer was our introduction, but it didn’t limit us to what we talked about and shared. It was evident how proud he was of his three children, Margot, Melinda, and Jonathan. How deeply he loved his wife. It’s a gift to meet a family so close and comfortable with one another, who consistently cheer one another on and stand by each other.
Before family and ministry happened, Dave was in the Marine Corps, serving in Viet Nam. Some of his deepest life lessons were learned there; mastering the idea of serving became a transformational education.
He learned to ask the question, “What does help look like?”
He considered himself an armor bearer to others who needed his skill set, his help in accomplishing goals they’d been called to achieve. Armor bearers serve at the pleasure of their leader. Doing as they’re asked. Going where they’re needed. Often without recognition. Dave was a behind-the-scenes person who enjoyed making others successful. In a world where everyone looks out for themselves and their image, Dave was a refreshing breath of authenticity and self-awareness.
He knew Jesus, the One he ultimately served. The One who had come to serve us in sacrifice.
One of the most beautiful parts of the memorial was when a Marine Color Guard presented the flag while one of their own played Taps. The flag was meticulously folded, humbly handled, and respectfully given to Karen. A reflection of the respect and humility with which Dave lived his life. An armor bearer to the end, he had lived to serve; this was a beautiful picture of gratitude for service rendered.
Dave’s journey here is over; heaven is now home. He’ll be remembered as a good and faithful server of others. Jesus welcomed him into heaven recognizing him as His good and faithful servant.
Our lives here are never lived just for our benefit.
It takes an armor bearer to remind me of that.