Friday, November 15, 2013

Robert's Rules of Order

He lifted me up out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. ~ Psalm 40:1-3

Robert presenting a scholarship to 5 Chinese students on our first trip to China together
Robert and Sara lived chaotic, yet scheduled lives all at the same time.

Chaotic, in that most Americans work toward retirement to get out of the grind and coast through their golden years. Not them--they did more after "retirement" than most people would do in a lifetime. They immersed themselves into the lives and needs of others.

Robert was also an incredibly organized and disciplined person. All over the world--literally, there are upstart ventures that were built on the business plans Robert helped young entrepreneurs formulate. On top of that, God only knows how much money Sara and he raised to help Asian students get into American Universities. On at least four different continents he navigated the bureaucracy and red tape necessary to help others launch new enterprises. All those efforts were but a pipeline to funnel into countless home Bible studies Chinese seeking to learn more about Jesus. I had the privilege of leading a good number of those groups and saw Chinese saved and baptized. To the person, they have all gone on to share the gospel and advance the Kingdom.

Sara George and Sandy and me in China
What sustained Robert and Sara?

There is only one explanation that could account for such sustained and robust selflessness. I can tell you what it was without question. Robert and Sara shared an intimate relationship with God. I do not know the circumstances that caused them to call upon God, but I can assure you that they came to the place any and all who seek redemption must find themselves. That is without God--no matter how good things appeared--without God they were in a pit of despair, and mired in mud. When they called, God answered. From that point on they continued to bring their lives before God. They considered anything but a life fully devoted to Christ to be living in the pits. Not everything they touched turned to gold. In their history there were some staggering set-backs. Times when they were knocked face down. But in turning to God, He picked them up and steadied and refreshed them for each new adventure. Robert and Sara shared an effervescent enthusiasm that was a hymn of praise to a watching world. Many saw it, wanted it, and put their trust in the Lord.

When seeking Robert's advice and wisdom, I would tell him I needed Robert's Rules of Order. In my last one-on-one conversation with Robert I was trying to figure out how to hit the curve ball God had pitched Sandy and me. Robert listened, and then asked me, "Bill, what do you want?" My eyes welled up, and I remember how I wanted to hug his eighty year old neck and tell him, "I want to be like you!" Meaning: humble, solid, purposeful, and fully committed to helping people find their way to God.

I didn't hug him. I wish I had.

The last audible words spoken by my orderly friend were to the gentleman who rushed to his aide as Robert Franklin George lay on the concrete outside the Columbus Post Office were, "Call my wife, Sara." And then he gave the kind gentleman her phone number. Moments later Robert was in God's presence. His mission accomplished, his itinerary complete. Heaven rejoiced.

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