Last week on this site I suggested several Bible reading plans you could follow for the new year. Between then and now, very unexpectedly, my father-in-law, Ralph Parke, passed away. He was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, an exemplary churchman (46 years of membership and service at the same church), and he quietly and consistently lived Christ-like character in every realm of his very full life. And one such way I want to share with you, was his consistent study of God’s Word.
Two days ago when the Pastor of Ralph’s church met with the family to discuss the funeral arrangements, we got to talking about Ralph’s daily habit of Bible reading. We laughed a little about the fact that several years ago this rather frugal man bought the Walk Thru the Bible reading plan (a monthly, daily devotion that includes a plan for systematically reading through the Bible in a year) and, of course, reused it year after year.
And I do mean year after year.
In fact, when we pulled out his Bible, we noticed that on one of those blank pages in the front of it, he had carefully kept track of how many years he had read it beginning to end (that too, was so like him). As best we can figure, at the end of the year 2009, he had just completed his 30th consecutive year of faithful, daily, disciplined Bible reading.
Wow! What a joy, and testimony, to the rest of us. And that is an example all of us need to follow.
As I said here last week, the best plan is the one we do. I have many things to thank my father-in-law for, not the least of which is the wonderful wife he gave me permission to marry a bunch of years ago. But I think in that simple accounting system he kept on the first few pages of his Bible, is a symbolic summary and example of what made him a special person, and person we can emulate in many ways: his love for God and His Word, his personal discipline, his faithful diligence, his consistency, his generosity, his humility (no one ever heard him brag about his accomplishments), etc., you get the picture.
This post is a tribute to Ralph Parke and all he stood for. Thank you Ralph for all you’ve done for your family, not the least of which is model for us what, and how, a devoted follower of Jesus, humbly and consistently lives out their faith on a daily basis. We saw it up close and personal, and there was never any doubt from those who knew you best. You loved your family and your Lord by “doing,” and in this consistent Bible reading discipline, you again have demonstrated to all of us how we should live as well.
We will miss you.
3 John 8