(This is the memoir for Mr. W.E. Hill which was prepared and given by the pastor at Mr. Hill's funeral.)
"So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should rise night and day and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come."
- Mark 4:26-30
Truly, "the harvest is come." There is hardly a home that has not been 'gathering in.' Fretful labor often accompanies the work of 'gathering in.' But, there is an eternal joy in this thing we call 'The Harvest.' Isaiah says: ". . . they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest." (Is. 9:3)
The laws of our universe are marvelous: A seed is planted; it bursts the shell about it; it grows according to seed and cultivation; it brings forth fruit. Harvest Time is come!
As men live close to the soil watching the earth bring forth fruit of herself, "first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear," they live close to God. This is life!
A seed is planted - - life begins - - a child is born - - it grows toward maturity! That which is not of the flesh comes to life. The 'spirit' is born anew. The spirit of man begins to grow. Harvest Time is come. These give expression in good deeds: "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me."
(Gal. 5:22; Matt. 25:35, 36).
There is another beautiful thing about "Harvest Time." It is that which we call "Giving an account of our Stewardship." Will you use your imagination just a few minutes? We want to see what happened yesterday morning (Oct. 6, 1943).
As Jehovah, the Master, and Angel Gabriel were beginning the day's work, someone knocked at the door. Angel Gabriel opened the door and Brother Eddie Hill entered. All three rejoiced with great joy as they came "face to face."
"Let's sit down," said the Master, "And talk things over." They sat down. "What have you to say for yourself, Brother Hill?"
"Well, I haven't got much to say. I am afraid I did not do as well as I could have done. I tried very hard to learn Thy will and to do Thy bidding. But, sometimes I was hindered by my own failures I have had to repent a lot."
"But weren't my grace and love sufficient for you?" said the Master.
"Yes. . . Yes, Sir, they were. I could not have done anything without Thy help, Master. I did not lose faith in Thee. Thou didst not fail me when I had reverses and hardships. Thou hast been more than good to me. And I want to thank Thee, among other things, for the home Thou didst give to me. It has been such a blessing to me these many years. O Master, be with my family this day."
"And what about your Church?"
"Master I love Thy Church. It helped me to find new life. It gave me an opportunity to worship with Fellow-Christians, to spread Thy Gospel, and to serve mankind. It was a joy to see it grow and prosper. I loved the ministers of Thy Church. The fellowship of the Prayer Meeting fed my soul! The music and the hymns stirred my inner life. . . . . And Master, I had a Sunday School class of young men and boys. I wanted to stay with them a while longer. I wanted to do a few other things, too. . . But, its 'Harvest Time! and I am here. Those boys like to come to Sunday School. Just now, Master, most of them, including four of my grandsons, have been sent away from home to do the things they do not want to do. It is not in keeping with the teachings of Thy Son, Jesus Christ. The situation is heartbreaking to Thy people, and I know that it hurts Thee, too. Master, can't something be done about it?"
"Yes, something can be done about it. . . if men will only obey the laws of the universe. The law of 'The Harvest' always works."
"Master, my prayer is that these boys may get to return home, and that they and their Church and their town and their country and the whole world will work together to build a better place in which to live. - - - - - And Master, I want to keep on serving as a steward in Thy Household. It is such a great joy."
And the Master replied: "Thou hast been a faithful steward. Thy work is well done. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
Let us pray: Kind and loving Master, teach us to follow Thee by obeying Thy laws that we may come to the 'Harvest Time' filled with joy and unafraid. May Thy tender love encompass the lives of the loved ones of Brother Hill. Enter Thou into every troubled breast that each may know Thy strength and comfort. Keep the boys close to Thee. And may we all hear Thy Spirit speaking through the "earthquake, wind and fire:"
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that were I am there ye may be also. . . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Amen.
* Note: "The boys," - William Eddie Hill's Sunday School students, including 4 grandsons, were fighting overseas in World War II.