November 28, 2014

David Waldron’s Tribute on behalf of families (Read by his daughter Naomi)

My name is David Waldron. I am the husband of Jenny, homeschooling dad of seven children, and minister of the Reformed Church of Hastings. I have enjoyed a 20 year friendship with Craig Smith, a man whose infectious belly laugh turned the lamest of jokes into hilarious humour (an art he never did manage to teach me!). A man who had a driving, contagious, passion for the truth, taught and lived.

It has been my observation as a pastor that as people approach the end of their lives, whether through aging or, as in the case of Craig, terminal illness, the core of their character, the essence of their being, becomes more and more exposed. I would like to reflect on three cental aspects of Craig. All of which begin with the letter “F”:

Food. Craig loved this stuff! The cheesy lasanges, the jalopenos on ice, the dark stout beer. I well remember the many times my family and I experienced the unstinting hospitality of the Smith family at 4 Tawa Street, under the shadows, as it were, of the wallpaper trees at the head of the dining room table. Yes, there were the introductions to Craig’s latest hot sauce discovery (never did find anything else as potent as “Dave’s Insanity Sauce” – half a drop would blow your head off!). But there was much more. The food was richly blended with deep discussions about education and theology, and singing and praying to the Lord God whom Craig loved and served.

It was hard for Craig, during the past two months, to undergo the natural food diet and LifeOne programme, but he willingly agreed to submit to this regime as part of the battle against his brain tumor. He craved the tastes he had long enjoyed. He would plaintively ask for some of the food and drink others around him were consuming {Sorry about slipping him that coffee at church Barbara!} But he never complained. His wife stood firmly by her husband, consistently caring for him. Never doubting that the Lord could heal Craig if He wished to delay bringing him home to glory. Never doubting that the Lord would take Him home at exactly the right time, whenever that was. Barbara shares with Craig another, far more vital than physical food, ‘F’ –which is at the core of Craig’s being

Faith. Craig believed that he would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living {Psalm 27:13}.  Craig knew that to be spiritually minded is life and peace {Rom 8:6}. Craig has saving faith like Abraham  who ”considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead” {Heb 11:19}.

On this earth, Craig loved God. He loved God’s Word, the Bible. Scripture filled his thoughts. You only had to talk to him for a few minutes and his love for  Christ, the Living Word, would bust out! Craig loved Christ’s church, the holy congregation of God’s people. In recent weeks, being confined to a wheel-chair did not mean that he forsook the assembling together, as is the habit of some, but he  encouraged others all the more, as the day of his meeting His Lord, in glory, drew near {Heb 10:25}.

Craig loved Reformed theology which he understood to be the theology of the Bible. He read widely and delighted to share his knowledge of the Scriptures and of his personal relationship with the Christ to whom the Bible points.Craig and I would talk and talk late into the night about the Scriptures.

So what does a man of this spiritual stature in Christ, leave behind? What is Craig’s legacy? Not gold or silver, not extensive lands or vast mansions, (except for 4 Tawa St!)  but far more valuable treasure. Craig leaves behind his own family, together with many other families like my own, who have benefitted from the service of this humble man. This brings us to the 3rd “F”:

Family: Craig has been a faithful witness for Christ as a Christian father. He has raised a family who have been carefully taught and guided in the truth. In the past few weeks, Craig gathered his family around him. We saw him rise to the occasion at Charmagne’s marriage to Josh. It took battery power to propel him down the aisle at his daughter’s side, but his paralysis did not constrain his spirit as he gave away his daughter. He blessed his grandchildren and instructed their parents even more intently and urgently as to how they should bring his grandchildren up in the fear and admonition of the Lord that he loved so dearly. He blessed and prayed with his children, urging them to follow Christ.

Craig’s influence on family extends far beyond the Smith clan. He has impacted his fellow Christians, his friends and aquaintances, people like me and you. He battled for the right for parents to discipline their children, he led many workshops and wrote many articles and has recently been filmed on Youtube talking about being a father so that others could benefit from the wisdom God had given him.

As homeschooling families many, if not most of us, have benefitted personally from the products of  Craig and Barbara’s labours. We enjoy many freedoms here in New Zealand, due at least in part to the publicising, advocacy, and political lobbying which Craig consistently and fervently performed on our behalf.

I am sure that if Craig were to hear these words being spoken about his accomplishments that he would be the first to say that all he achieved was ultimately not of his doing, but was the grace and power of God working through him. He would frequently describe himself as a “dirty rotten sinner”; meaning that he was undeserving of any goodness from the hand of the Almighty, Holy God. Friends, in this, Craig Smith was just like you and me. It is only because God chose this man to be his child, only because God loved this man before Craig loved Him, that Craig is now living in the very presence of the Christ he served.

As you are listening to these words today, you are someone whose life has been touched in some way through knowing Craig. Whether you have been encouraged to take up the challenge to home educate your children, whether you are someone who has been home-schooled, whether your understanding about God, the universe and everything has been shaped by interaction with Craig.

Think then for a moment about how has this man in life and in death has made an impact on your life

There is an urgency about death. It brings us face to face with the fact that we are not on this earth forever, and not one of us know the time or hour of our passing from this world. It was with this sense of urgency that Craig wanted others to know about his Saviour Jesus Christ.

Do you know the love, joy, peace and security of Craig’s  Savior, Jesus of Nazareth?

Are you confident in Christ that you will see Craig again in the new heavens and the new earth to come?

If you have come to Christ in repentance and faith, praise God that you, like Craig, are a child of the living God.

If not, then you need Craig’s Savior. You need His Lord.

You need the One who loved this man so much that He laid down His life for Craig so that Craig would be exactly where he is now, with the living, risen Lord Jesus Christ. In glory. I remember Craig today with sadness because I miss his friendship now. I remember Craig today with gladness because I know that He is truly at peace in the presence of Christ. He has gone home.

END.