This past week we said goodbye to one of the finest Christian gentlemen I have known. Brother Grant Evans was a great friend, and a wonderful servant of Jesus Christ. Grant was saved late in life, but as soon as he received Christ he became a committed Christian. I have often said there are some people that you can really tell their salvation “took.” That may not be a theological term, but it does describe the type of person that lives so much like Christ that there is never a doubt Christ lives in them. Their salvation permeates every aspect of their lives. I learned this very quickly about Grant more than 13 years ago when I first met him.
I met him after he was retired from his business as a contractor, but he had taken those years of construction knowledge and had transferred them into a new occupation—construction and maintenance for Jesus Christ. His old blue pickup truck was filled with tools, ladders, paint cans, drop cloths, anything that was needed to keep the physical plant of Berean Baptist Church in good working order. There is nothing in our building that does not have Grant’s fingerprints on it.
This was his way of serving Christ. I never knew him to preach a sermon from the pulpit, but he preached sermons every day with his life. He showed what retirement should be, a great opportunity to use his time for Jesus. So every day like clockwork, he was up and on his way here to spend his day taking care of any needs we had. Our school children were as familiar with him as they were with their teachers. Whenever there was something to be fixed they were told, “Go fetch Mr. Grant” and they knew he was somewhere in the building working and would come and take care of the problem. For many years he was always around, but not once did he receive a paycheck for his efforts. His life was one of giving, not taking. He always said the pay was poor, but pay was not what he was after. Heaven was his reward; and if they swing hammers in heaven, Grant will have one in each hand.
It was my joy to be Grant’s pastor. I will always remember when he was ordained as a deacon and the excitement of that ordination service. He wanted to be sure he knew exactly what he should do and was in the right place at the right time. As he grew older and no longer felt he could be as active as he wanted, he felt he needed to retire from the deacon board. We couldn’t let him go entirely, so we made him accept the title of Deacon Emeritus. His only limitations in service were the limitations his physical body imposed. As long as he could, he did all he could. We did our best to slow him down for his own good, but his own good was rarely his concern. This ministry and this building were his love and he stuck with it until it was physically impossible.
There is so much to say about Grant. He was always faithful to every service. Three times per week he showed up in a suit and tie always seated in the same place, and always attentive to God’s word. At some point the most faithful of God’s servants will have their detractors. Some cross word of complaint will always find its way to my desk, even about the best of the best. But never did I hear complaint from Grant or about Grant. He was a rare breed of physical toughness mixed with humble gentleness. He was loved by all.
He loved his pastor from the beginning and supported me as his choice to pastor this church. I will never forget him for this. I preach to you today in some part, and perhaps as God only knows in large part, because of Grant Evans. I will miss Grant; but I am always happy to see God’s saints promoted to glory. When I get there, I will look for him and enjoy his company for eternity!
Pastor V. Mark Smith