He’s never been to Bible college or seminary.  He doesn’t pastor a church or even preach regularly.  But for all practical purposes, Rudy is the pastor for an entire community.

Several years ago, a favor for a friend turned in to a full-time job.  More than that, really.  A ministry.

Rudy was a logger by trade.  He spent his days cutting down trees and loading them up on his truck.  He’s got scars on his chest and legs to remind him of those days.  Big scars.

He knew that it was time to leave the logging industry.  The work was starting to wear on him.  He just didn’t know that he would replace that job with one at the funeral home.

At first, it seemed weird, dealing with dead bodies.  But he quickly learned that he was good at putting his arm around hurting people and telling them, in his deep voice, “It’s going to be okay.”  And that’s what he’s been doing for going on three decades now.

When a family loses a loved one and they don’t have a pastor to call, they call Rudy to preach the funeral.  That family will hear the gospel at that funeral.  A few of them have given their lives to Christ and joined a church because of Rudy’s ministry.

Some families, when they know that death is getting close, call Rudy before calling anyone else.  The last thing some people here before they meet their Creator is Rudy’s gospel presentation and petition to squeeze his hand if they understand.  He says that it’s like the thief on the cross, crying out to Jesus for salvation, at the last minute.  And like the thief on the cross, those people are with Jesus now.

Rudy will never write a book or be asked by CNN for his opinion on the nation’s economy. But he has been commanded by his Heavenly Father to love God and love others.  And as much as any fallen man that I know, he has done just that.

A lot of ministers are known for their impeccable knowledge or the quality of their education.  Sadly, for them, that’s where it all stops.

As important as knowledge and education are, they are not as important as obedience.

Rudy is obedient.

And Jesus is glorified.

And an entire community is better for it.

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-31 (ESV)