Today, I attended the funeral of a man I often called the Apostle of Love. Ralph Lee Jones was one of the most humble men I have ever known. He was always joyful. Love and kindness surrounded him like an aura. You met him and he was your friend forever. When he spoke to me it as if he were my father giving me loving advice and encouragement. Everyone was honey or darlin’ to him and that made us even more feel like loved children in his presence.

What made me call him the Apostle of Love was the care he gave his beloved wife, Ollie, for so many years. He cared for her at home after she became comatose. He sang to her, prayed with her and took such good care of her that she never once had a bed sore. That is so awesome. So many would have just put her in a nursing home and moved on with their life, but Ollie was his life right after Jesus Christ, his Lord.

He loved his children best by loving the Lord and their mother. His life exemplified love as a verb, not a noun as was said in the sermon. He was the epitome of a devoted husband and father. He set the bar very high for the rest of us. I don’t expect but a very few will ever attain it. In a world of divorce and desertion he stood as a rock by his wife. His biography should be published and made a required reading for those planning on marriage or being counselors.

He served his country as well as a sailor and postal carrier. He also served His Lord in similar capacities. Indeed, each person he encountered received verbal cards and letters from Christ delivered with a smile and love in his eyes. He was God’s mailman to many who needed encouragement.

As a culinary specialist in the Navy, he fed the bodies of hungry men, but he also had been a licensed minister and for nearly all his life he fed the hungry souls of men and women with the Bread of Life. As he was well skilled in the art of Navy chow he also was skilled in feeding the soul. Brother Ralph knew if the bread needed to be served with butter, honey or needed toasted. He knew when they could only handle a crumb, a slice or needed the whole loaf. He did that with such a humble heart that when I complimented him on his service to the Lord, tears came to his eyes and he said he hoped he had done some small thing to serve His Lord. He really had no idea how much he had touched so many lives. One of his favorite songs was sung today, “Stars in My Crown”. It is good that he now has a perfect body because his crown might weigh near a ton or two with all the stars he must have in it.

That was one of the many things that endeared him to people. He made you feel like you were doing him a favor by allowing him to minister to you. I had never encountered that before. He lived a simple life of love and was thrilled to be simply loving all he met. I would not be surprised if the Apostle John waited in line to see Brother Ralph when he arrived in Glory. They had so much in common.

It was fitting that it was a an overcast day with rain. When a powerful prayer warrior like Brother Ralph goes home it is no surprise for earth to weep. Indeed, I shed a few tears as his accolades were being spoken by the family and the pastor. Yet, while we weep here Heaven rejoices to welcome home a faithful saint. I don’t know if there was a parade Ralph participated when he came back from the Navy, but there were angelic shouts of glory to God when he was carried through the pearly gates and delivered into the arms of Jesus!!

The tombstone will say Ralph Lee Jones August 25th,1932 – May 26th, 2015, but he has touched so many lives that he will live for many more decades here and eternally with Jesus.

Fair skies and smooth seas, my Brother! We will miss you, but we are glad you safely arrived at your eternal home port! See you soon! Maranatha!!!