My friends and I bid farewell this week to Ken Cooper, one of the finest guys who has been for years our friend, our peer, our colleague, our brother: to declare that he was a godly prince of a man falls short of our ability to express a fitting estimation of his character. In fact, our words are halting, searching, inadequate, heart-broken . . . as always in times of untimely loss.
One acquaintance in recent weeks observed, in the manner of a well-intentioned compliment, that Ken was a man of few words. I won’t take issue with the spirit of that characterization, because Ken wasn’t loud in the company of his friends (except when our men’s Sunday School class had some outrageous joke or wisecrack to laugh about—-Ken could hoot and jibe with the best of us!).
But I really believe we do better if we remember Ken as a man of true words.
A man of true words, like Ken, is not a quiet man, but rather a man who knows when, what, and how to speak. His words are edifying, reflective, sage, and judicious. In Sunday School class, for example, Ken was not the most talkative member of our particularly noisy group. But from week to week, at timely points in bible study and discussion, he offered observations and commentary that made all of us think, to nod in agreement, or even to marvel “Why didn’t I think of that?” The insight his remarks showed was dependably deep, original, and true. His friends and I agree that he was a student of God’s word with a prophetic knack for expressing spiritual truth with clarity, practicality, and depth.
We always missed his presence and participation in Sunday School when he was away for long periods at his pipeline work, and we always looked forward to his return at the end of those jobs when he would rejoin the class for whatever period of weeks or months that his schedule afforded. His presence and participation enriched our fellowship.
So we are heart-broken now that he’ll never return to participate in our discussions or to laugh at the good-natured banter and wisecracks that characterize our gregarious fellowship. We will miss his companionship, his brotherhood, his character, his gift for true words.
But praise God, we will miss Ken for only a season, because we maintain the glorious hope that assures us of his soul’s security. While we’ll never meet him again in the fleeting years alloted to us on this side of heaven, we will share eternity in the glorious presence of God, angels, and the host of loved ones and friends already departed.
Till that day when eternity in heaven begins for each of us, we ask God to bless Ken’s memory. May we guard that memory as precious in our midst, and may it inspire and motivate us to be like him, men of true words who lean on the everlasting arms of faith.
To God be the glory!
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