July 23, 2014

Zach’s Tribute on behalf of the Craig Smith family

Greetings to you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Thank you for being here to support us at this time of great loss – and
thank you, also, for joining us to celebrate the journey home of one of our
Lord’s children.

We are greatly indebted to the many people who have blessed us over the past
two months.  I would like to take a few moments to express our gratitude.
It has been a very humbling experience.

Because of the aggressive nature of the tumour, and its size at the time of
discovery, we pursued a form of treatment that was far from ordinary.  Our
friend, Ty Bollinger, connected us with a Dr. in the States who made this
treatment possible.  We want to thank Ty for his support and our Dr. in the
US for his excellent service.

We would also like to express our deep gratitude to our family Dr. – Dr.
Minnee – for his on-the-spot practical care, love, and advice every step of
the way.  We were difficult patients at times but it was always clearly
evident that Dr. Minnee’s professional care was provided with much love and
grace.

Many thanks also to the Sandbrook family – especially Maree, to Jessica
Rademaker, Suzannah Rowntree, Anna Leech, Joe Rumble, members of the Reformed
Church, John Briggs, and so many others for all of your help during this
time.  You have all blessed our family abundantly.

Our heartfelt thanks also go out to Wytse de Vries and the Reymer and Vander
Wee families for their continuous support of Dad’s ministry over the years.

We have seen prayer answered on a phenomenal scale.  At each stage of
treatment we would pray for direction and we would pray for wisdom about how
to proceed.

Our Gracious God always answered, always made it clear which options were
possible and which ones were not.  It was with these answers to prayer that
He led us through all possible treatments – in order to show us that He was,
indeed, calling Dad home.

This is the way of prayer in the life of a Christian.

Shortly after Dad gave his life to Christ he began praying to meet someone
who could disciple him.  Unknown to him at the time, another young man was
praying for the opportunity to disciple a brother in Christ.  So the Lord
arranged for Craig Smith and John Smith to meet: two young men living in
Christchurch, two young men working for NAC, two young men on fire for the
Word of God.

This discipleship included Bible study, evangelism, and Scripture memory,
among other things – and laid the foundation for the man I would know as my
Dad.  We Smith children would like to gratefully acknowledge the pivotal
role that John Smith played in the development of our father’s faith.

We praise God for answers to prayer.

I know from talks I had with Dad that his personal prayer was to be used as
an effective tool for the Lord’s work here on this earth.  Dad could not
abide the thought of failing to use his time and talents in the service of
our Creator.  We recently found the last five verses of Psalm 66 circled in
his personal Bible:

[16] Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
[17] I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
[18] If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
[19] But truly God has listened;
he has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
[20] Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!

 

Well, Christian, be careful what you pray for!  The Lord answers prayer!

We praise God that we are, “His workmanship,” as it states in Ephesians
2:10, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  We were blessed with a husband
and father to whom faith and family meant everything.  Over time it became
apparent to Dad that his work on this earth had to centre around the family.
The Lord put the right man in the right place to advocate on behalf of each
family’s right to raise, educate, disciple, discipline, nurture and train
their own children.  Family was so very important to Dad.  And by God’s
grace, his example as a leader, friend, prophet, disciplinarian, husband,
priest, teacher, comforter, provider, servant, motivator, and just plain
“dad” is one of the most biblical I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

Dad is my hero – the man I strive to emulate the most.

However, he would have been the first to say that without the grace of God
and a faith in the redemption of Christ, he would have been utterly lost -
without purpose and without vision.

My sister, Genevieve, told me about a funeral she attended with Mum and Dad
a number of years ago.  The funeral was a celebration of the life of the
person who had passed away.  Genevieve said she remembered being surprised
that the person’s Saviour was barely mentioned.  Dad wasn’t just surprised
by this; he was deeply grieved.  The rest of the day he couldn’t concentrate
on his work.  He kept popping out of his office and pacing about, rubbing
his forehead and saying, “They didn’t preach the gospel.  They didn’t preach
the gospel.”

That was the day he began planning his own funeral.

“Genevieve,” Dad would say to her, “my funeral is not to be about me or what
I’ve done.  It has to be about my Saviour and what He has done.  The gospel
has to be preached.  The people who come must leave knowing that without
Christ they are sinners on their way to hell – and the only way to avoid
everlasting destruction is through Jesus Christ, who paid for their sins on
the cross.  They must be told that they must repent of their sins and
believe in Jesus Christ to be saved.”

Looking around this room, I see many faces who loved my father and who
worked hard with my family to keep Dad alive.  As much as we all loved Dad
there is One Who loved him more.  As much as my family and many of you gave
of your time, money and effort to keep Dad alive there is One Who gave His
life that Dad might live!

And live a life everlasting!

And that is just what Dad is doing now!

He is living!

He is alive with his Saviour in Paradise!

When Dad was about 50 his voice changed and he found that he could sing.
This gave him great confidence, as he previously considered that he couldn’t
sing very well.  From this time in particular he loved to praise God in song
and we would sing around the table at 4 Tawa Street after every meal.  I
just know that if there are any congregations singing in heaven right now
that he will be there with them worshipping his Lord not just with an
improved voice, but with a perfect voice!

God’s promise of a perfected body when we get to heaven brings me great
comfort right now.

To think that Dad will have perfect eyesight.  No more colour blindness or
glasses.

To think he won’t be numb or paralysed down his left side anymore.

To think he won’t have high blood pressure.

He doesn’t have a brain tumour anymore!

For Dad there is no more pain; no more sorrow.

But the thing that makes me really jealous is that for Dad there is no more
sin.  He is no longer burdened down by this weight of sin that ensnares all
of us.

He is free.

And he is with his Saviour.

Dad wished for this to be shared at his funeral: how you, too, can be free.

The Bible Says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6v23

Repent of your sins and believe in Christ.  This is what you must do to be
saved.

Dad realized his sin and utter misery in the early 70s.  That is when he
repented.  It wasn’t easy for him to do.  He found as a Christian he
couldn’t sweep things under the carpet anymore.  He had to deal with them.
He had to go back to people he had stolen from and make restitution.  He had
to give up his ways and his ideas and take on board God’s ways and God’s
ideas.

That is why he said to Genevieve, “Don’t talk about me at my funeral.  I
haven’t done anything amazing.  I’m nothing.  Talk about Christ.  It is all
Him.”

That is Dad.  Rescued from slavery to sin.  Made a slave to righteousness.
Set free from sin.  He offered himself to God as an instrument of
righteousness.

His hope and prayer is that you will do the same.

In closing I’d like to share from the book of Romans.  Romans was Dad’s
favorite part of the Bible. He memorized the whole book back in the ’70s.

In Romans 8 it says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to
us…And we know that all things work together for good to those who love
God, to those who are the called according to His purposes.”

Dad believed these things.  Which is why he said there were lots of things
he didn’t understand about his brain tumour – but two things he was certain
of: he knew he was given the tumour for God’s glory and for our good.

And that is why he was able to thank God for the tumour.

And why we do too.

Thank You, Lord for Your goodness to us.

Thank You for Dad.

Thank You for the tumour.

Thank You for taking Dad home to be with You.