Contend Earnestly: A Grandson's Eulogy

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Grandson's Eulogy

I have wanted to do this ever since seeing my grandfather's temporal body lie in a casket in Main Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, MS. It was strange to see him lying there with all that make up and such. What also caught me off guard was the emotionless face with no smile on my grandfather. That is when Stacy (my wife) and I understood that the only thing making my grandfather smile was his soul as he thought about the glorious hope in seeing Christ face to face. Why would a face smile without its soul? The scowl found on this temporal body was profound, because I am sure that temporal body was feeling a little left out since my grandfather's new body was allowed into the presence of Christ, while the temporal was left to go into the ground.

This eulogy is what I found to be my grandfather. Nothing more, nothing less. Before allowing you, the reader, to understand more of my grandfather I want to be honest. My grandfather, Theodore Willis Lott, was just like you and me. Nothing special, a mere sinner used by God. But, what I found remarkable is that it seemed that my grandfather truly understood what it meant to know that this is not our home, but that we are pilgrims awaiting our permanent home in the presence of Christ. He understood that all on this earth is God's, whether it be possessions or intangible items like time.

What I remember most about my grandfather was his love of Jesus. I am being serious. I know that a lot of people have some weird thoughts on their relatives after they die, but my grandfather never allowed anything to get between him and Jesus. This past summer he came to visit us, as they tried to do every year, and nothing had changed. He would wake up early to be in the word of God and he showed me his notes that he had written out from the book of Romans as he was trying to memorize the entire book of Romans. My grandfather was 83 years old. If you found him alone he usually had an earpiece on that was constantly playing the Bible being read in his ear and he read and listened to the Bible twice a year, all the way through. He was a man of the word. He always wanted to read more, memorize more and and teach more. More, more, more...all about the word of God.

What is great about my grandfather's witness is that it wasn't only about knowledge. He memorized and read so that he could not only live by the word but also so that he could tell others about the word of God and the power of Jesus Christ. He wasn't only a man of orthodoxy, but a devout man of orthopraxy. At the age of 17, he bought 40 acres of forest land in Mississippi and told God that every penny that came of that land would go back to God. He would end up allowing people to use the trees and resources of that land for years, and every penny went back to God. 2 months ago, my aunt urged my grandfather to sell the land so he could see the fruit of his labors before he went home to see the Lord. So, after holding the land for 67 years, he sold the land and gave all the money to the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. I am not sure how much it ended up being, and don't want to, but it was substantial. All because a 17 year old was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he wanted God's glory to be shown in the actions of a mere youth.

Time went on and my grandfather became a man for the glory of God. He planted and pastored many churches over the years in South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Washington and Florida. Anything for Jesus. While church planting and pastoring were important to my grandfather, world missions was his true calling and desire. He and my grandmother ended up making over 40 trips across the globe, including Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Kenya, Tanzania, Paraguay, Venezuela, Jamaica, the Virgin Islands, Ukraine, Korea and most important to his heart, India. Oh how my grandfather loved the people of India. He would go to the same places each year and aid the pastors and preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He especially despised the caste system in India and went to those who were considered the untouchables, and he touched them with the message that God loved them so much that he gave his only begotten Son, that if they would only believe in Him that they would not perish, but have everlasting life. He gave them the message that, although their country doesn't love them, that they were made in the image of the Eternal God, and He loved them. I used to get bored with his slide shows of India, being I was selfish, but the love in the face of my grandfather and grandmother for those in India was unquestionable. The organization finally had to force my grandfather to stay home because of his health. You could tell that this was very difficult for him as it seemed as this was his heart and mission while here: to preach the gospel to the Indians. I believe his last trip happened in his late 70's. I don't like sleeping in an uncomfortable bed, and yet my grandfather wanted to risk his own life to preach the gospel. I can learn from him.

Above I stated that his temporal body had a scorned look. My grandfather always seemed to have a smile on his face. All of us cousins were discussing that we never saw my grandfather angry. My uncle (married to my grandfather's daughter) said that he has known him for 40 years and never saw him angry. My grandfather emanated love and happiness for the sake of Christ. He was truly the most patient and loving man I have ever met. My favorite story about my grandfather showing his goofiness was when my dad walked into my grandfather's house finding him running up and down his stairs popping M & M's in his mouth. My dad said, "Daddy (everyone called him daddy), don't you think you are defeating the purpose of running up and down the stairs by eating M & M's?" My grandfather responded, "It's better than sitting down and eating them!" Just a funny, down to earth man. I can see his expression and laughter as he said this to my father.

He always wanted to know how we were doing. He always wanted to spend time with us. I asked my five year old son why he loved his great-grandfather so much. My son answered, "Because he always liked to play with me." What my son didn't know is that the reason for this is because my grandfather loved him so much that he wanted my son to see Jesus through him and through his prayers. This passed August, at the age of 83, my grandfather was in much pain, yet spent hours and hours playing with my 5 year old and my 2 year old. Totally immersed in their interests and desires.

There are many things in the ministry that I am leaving out, but these are the the things that I remember of my grandfather. He was a sinner like me. He was finite in knowledge and wisdom. He needed a Saviour in Jesus Christ. All this reminds me and makes me ask, "Why don't I love Jesus like my grandfather?" If he is just like me, and I am just like him, what keeps me from loving and desiring Jesus like my grandfather? What keeps me from loving the lost like my grandfather? What keeps me from loving my family like my grandfather? What keeps me from living for the glory of God like my grandfather?

The only thing that I desired to keep to remember my grandfather was one of his Bibles. I asked my grandmother on the the last night I was in her house if I could have one. She presented me with one of his favorite Bibles that was a gift to him in 1976. It was of course by his bedside table, with many notes and the leather torn from use, and probably worn from the many travels all over the world for the sake of the gospel. I found in it the notes from his last sermon that he gave at the age of 83 less than two months ago. The title? Change. At the age of 83 my grandfather desired to see people change for the sake of Jesus Christ. He was never satisfied with his work here on this earth and always looked to see how he could change himself and others for the glory of God. My uncle spoke to some of the nurses at the hospital that my grandfather was at. All of them said the same thing: Mr. Lott was a very nice man and he constantly asked us if we knew Jesus Christ as our Saviour.

This is how I will remember my grandfather. He was a man of change. 83 was just a number to him and he seemed to always have the glow and excitement of a new believer in Jesus. I will miss him. But his fruit will be growing until the return of our Lord. I love my grandfather very much and miss him deeply. But, he is now worshiping our Christ face to face and that is where my grandfather should be: at the feet of his Saviour.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8

In Memory of My Grandfather: The Best Servant of Christ I have ever known
Known as Pastor, Grandpa, Papaw, Daddy, and to my Grandma: Honey (or, if she was mad at him while playing cards: Ted! or Oh Theodore! as he chuckled)
Born: December 24th, 1924
Died: Monday, November 24th, 2008
Survived By his wife of 60 years: Vivian Lott
7 Children: Paul, Gale, Beth, Deborah and their spouses (he would never leave spouses outside of his children)
19 Grandchildren (including spouses)
18 Great Grandchildren


Anonymous said...

That is absolutely beautiful. You are truly blessed to have had that kind of witness so close. Please use that to witness that love and unwavering faithfulness to others!!

Beckie Hill

David Shaw said...


My prayers are with your family. God gives us great men and women in our lives to be an example of Christ to us and help us down the path that He has for us. You were blessed to have your Grandfather be that for you.

The best thing about something like this is that, as you so well put, He is worshiping our Saviour face to face. An act you will be doing with him for all eternity.

God bless you and your family.

Sheri Hiltunen said...

I have a lump in my throat after reading this tribute to your Grandfather, my Pastor. He was so special, my son wrote a book about him back in 1994 when he was 8 years old. We have had several men serving as 'pastor' of our church, but I will always consider Ted my Pastor. My husband and I were one of the lucky many who had the opportunity to go on one of his trips to India. His love for the people of India was deep. As you said, the physical toll it takes to travel 10,000 miles alone is intense, but he did so much when we were there, non stop and always a big smile. He was Pastor of First Baptist Greenacres when we came to know the Lord. He baptized me, my husband, and my oldest son. Your family is Blessed to have them both. They are great prayer warriors and I have felt their prayers during the most difficult times of my life. Thank you for this message. If you don't mind, I would like to forward it to some others who have been touched by your Grandparents. God Bless you and your family during this time. On December 20th at 2pm we are having a memorial service for him at a church he started in 1979 in Greenacres Florida. I will never forget him.

Seth McBee said...


Of course. Send this to whomever you would like. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story with me about my grandfather. I love him dearly and like my grandma said as she grasped his hand at his casket:

"Ted, know that I still love you and always will"

Also. did you find the site? Just curious.

I hope all is well and if you need my email you can email me at

smcbee [at] mcbeeadvisors [dot] com

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