"A Final Ministry"
September 15, 2008
The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1b
Dick Barr was my friend, and I am going to miss him.
Understand, I had personally known Dick only for the last three years. That being said, the truth is I met Dick long ago when I was reading the Bible. You see, Dick's spiritual father was Jonathan, the friend of the man who eventually became King David.
Read through Scripture and you will see Jonathan had few, if any, bad qualities, and one most exceptional attribute: Jonathan loved his friends. No hesitation. No holding back.
That's what Dick Barr did. After the death of Dr. Hoffmann, the long-lived speaker of The Lutheran Hour, I was asked to "take Ossie's place" on an annual fishing trip in Arkansas.
That fishing trip had been started more than 40 years ago when Dick's father, who then served as president of the Lutheran Layman's League, thought The Lutheran Hour speaker needed some time to relax. When the father died, his children, Dick included, took over and kept that fishing trip going.
Like the Bible's Jonathan, the ministry of Dick and rest of the Barrs, has been to support the workers of the Lord. Living in the Redeemer's love, they reflected it to God's called servants.
During the course of my ministry, I have been blessed to know a few other men and women like that. These are folks who, working in the background without any desire for prestige or applause, listened to, prayed for, and supported their ministers in every way they could.
Their memories are precious - - more precious that I can share in a few short lines.
Performing a ministry of support was the service of Dick Barr. Now, Dick has one more ministry to perform: a ministry to you, not me.
You see, two weeks ago, Dick and his wife were vacationing at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. As they walked along the beach, two rogue waves hit the shore and swept them out to sea. Dick's wife was spared; Dick was taken home to the Savior who loves and had saved him.
His funeral was last Tuesday.
It is my belief that Richard, who had twice beaten cancer, would want his unexpected ending to be an encouragement to you.
He would have me say this to you: "Live your life loving and supporting others. There may be other things in life that pay better and look good on a resume, but it is what Jesus has asked us to do. Live your life so that when a wave comes and knocks you off your feet, you will be able to meet your Savior and say, 'Lord, you loved me and, in Your Name I tried to love others.'"
That was Dick Barr. That's why he was my friend, and that's why I am going to miss him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, when I was yet a sinner You showed your love for me by living, dying, and rising from the grave. Because of Your love I have been saved. Now, in all I do, may I reflect Your love to others. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries