Jerry C. Brewer
More than 16 years ago, it was my sad task to speak at the funeral of a godly elder under whom I had served in Chillicothe, Texas. Brother Roelf Ruffner and I conducted the funeral of W. C. (Dub) Lewis on April 20, 2002 and the following are from the remarks I made at that time.
Some 32 years and two weeks ago, our family left Oklahoma, under an afternoon sky laden with rain clouds, and drove the 95 miles to Chillicothe to talk with the elders about the work here. It was on that Wednesday evening that I first met, and learned to love, Dub Lewis.
His was a faith and devotion to Christ that would never allow him to absent himself from any assembly of the church. He never thought that heaven could be reached by complying with minimum requirements, as do many foolhardy people. Dub understood what the Lord meant when He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24) In the six years that we lived and worshipped in Chillicothe, I cannot recall one time that the church met without Dub. It may be that he was gone once or twice, but I cannot recall such an absence. When he committed himself to any task, he was willing to do it and he committed himself to Christ with no thought of putting his hand to the plow and looking back.
As for the character of the man, it has never been my experience to meet a gentler, kinder, sweeter man than Dub Lewis. He was honored with the most awesome responsibility to be placed upon man when he was selected as an elder of the Chillicothe church and he was well fitted for that work of watching for souls (Titus 1:6-9).
Jesus said a person is known by his fruits (Matt. 7:14). Dub Lewis preached his own funeral sermon by the life he lived. There is nothing I can add and no words I can say to express the kind of man he was. His life embodied a devotion to Christ that renders insignificant anything I might say.
Men generally die as they lived and their last words are indicative of the condition of their hearts. Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart a man speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things” (Matt. 12:34-35). In his poem, entitled Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas urged his dying father to, “Rage, rage against the dying light.” A man who spends his his short life outside the pale of salvation and without a thought of God or the hereafter might “rage against the dying light.” Death will change neither his heart, nor condition. But in his last days in a Lubbock hospital, the lips of Dub Lewis gave expression to a devout heart. His wife, Mollie, said Dub would often start praying aloud in his final hours.
Finally, Dub was a father whose noblest impulse was to bring up his children in the way of truth. He so led his house that God’s assessment of Abraham could be echoed of Dub Lewis in this age: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him…” (Gen. 18:19), and Dub well heeded Paul’s admonition to bring up children, “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). No child, brought up in such a manner, who later departs from the Lord and is lost, can ever say his parents failed. And, while parents like Dub may spend a lifetime teaching their children and grandchildren and living godly lives before them, in the final analysis each will answer for himself (Ezek. 18:20).
Dub and Mollie were blessed to have each other and both knew what the world today has forgotten—that, “for better or for worse, until death us do part,” are not just meaningless words of a ceremony. They describe a way of life for those who love God and each other.
Mollie followed Dub into eternity a few short years later. As they were united in Christ in this life, so they await the resurrection in His care. They were both very dear to our family and we look forward to a glad reunion with them in that land across which no shadow shall ever fall.