My friend, Don Pahl, serves as the senior pastor of Evangelical Bible Church in Omaha, Nebraska. Don’s dad, Leonard, died recently at 90 years of age.
Leonard Pahl repaired farm machinery. His life might seem unremarkable to many, including some Christians. But they would be wrong. Leonard lived with vivid clarity about Jesus’ call to all who would be his disciples.
Don gave me permission to publish the following excerpt from the eulogy he gave for his dad.
In the early 1900’s a subtle shift occurred in America. One faction of churches focused their attention on social and humanitarian needs, the “do unto your neighbor” kind of things. The other faction rejected the focus on social issues and became more attentive to evangelism, calling people to Jesus Christ. With that shift, the social needs group served a wider audience but some of them weakened their message of Jesus. The evangelism group maintained their evangelistic message and call to Jesus but some lost their audience. Christianity in America suffered with that split because both emphases are biblical! Jesus calls us to decision, to believe in him. As believers, then, we serve the poor and needy in our society, just as Jesus did.
Just recently I began to realize that our Dad, probably because he spent so much time in his Bible (he wore out several copies), tried to keep these biblical balances. Dad gave over 6 gallons of blood over the years, probably saving lives. He became involved in trees and recycling not because he was “green” but because he believed God created this earth and we must take care of his creation. While he wasn’t often overt and vocal about his faith, neither did he shy from it in conversation. Many of you came to Dad with your struggles and he gave you time and attention and counsel. PLEASE KNOW THIS: ALL OF THIS WAS THE OUTWARD DISPLAY OF DAD’S DEEP AND ABIDING FAITH IN GOD THROUGH JESUS.
We salute Leonard’s exemplary life. May his tribe increase.
(For further thought-provoking reading on the subject of Christianity and the workplace, see Darrow Miller’s LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day.)
– Gary Brumbelow